Thursday, 20 March 2014

Painting, Decisions and Meaning

According to Jean Piaget: "Intelligence is what you use when you don't know what to do." This quote became my silent mantra for my most recent art class as I battled with Fauvism and struggled with color fields.
After surprising myself with my first paintings I often ask myself now, perhaps it was a fluke.
 Painting is making decisions even if the decision is to keep going with no plan. It's hard and the results sometimes less than satisfying but it doesn't matter. It really doesn't. The process is the point and the process is becoming my addiction. What  joy it is, after years of being the adult educator to learn something new.

Unlike the beginning acrylics course which was more technical, more methodical, this class feels like a tour through modern art. This time we discussed the Impressionists, the Fauvists and Black Mountain College of Arts whose spirit still lives on in Asheville. I learned that the Impressionists used oils. I thought of those garrets in Paris in the summer, hot humid and reeking of linseed oil. The smell must've been intoxicating.
We learn and then we explore those techniques and it feels to me like I am developing connections with these artists. I mean this with great humility. Actually doing what they did brings it alive. To be honest I think EVERYONE who likes art should do a class, even if you don't have the desire to be an artist. I will never look at art the same again. I'll never look at life the same way again.  John Dewey said this: "Whatever path the work of art pursues, it, just because it is a full and intense experience, keeps alive the power to experience the common world in its fullness." (from 'Art and Experience')

I am sharing what I did, not because I think it is any good but to make those of you also struggling feel better. The finished product here seems so insignificant to the experience of creating it.