Art Is Not Methodical Mechanics

As I poured through books and took formal art classes, I developed a notion that art is all about formulas and theories of best practices. My focus became narrowed on realism and traditional art of the Middle Ages, I lost all of my creativity for over 30 years! Before that I was a prolific artist and sold works before I had even completed them - two validations that I was a successful craftsperson, but not really an artist (by my new educated standards).

Nell Painter argues that the focus on technique, principals and elements are not intrinsic contraints of art.

Developed in the 1400's when vendors began to realize that art, raised to a level of the high-class educated, would be a valuable commodity.  These terms and concepts became the source of conversations and judgements of fine art. Everything else was deemed to be a form of craft which to this day is secondary to art. With conversations about patterns (elements), the Golden Ratio (design),  etc. techniques of "fine art"  became the talking points of the higher social class, of gallery sales, and museum memberships.

The concept of art that I have developed over my long search for "answers" has been clarified for me as I read Brene' Brown's book, The Gift of Imperfections .  I believe art 's true value is the result of being a series of marks made by one unique individual who has or is living on planet earth in response to his/her world. No other art, copied or not, can ever be exactly the same as the original piece created by that unique individual.

As humans, especially in our current modern societies, we erase the value of our art (our own natural creative being) with judgements (we imagine or realize) about what really make our work valuable  "art".

We seem to measure the value of people's contributions (and sometime their entire lives) by their level of public recognition. In other words, worth is measured by fame and fortune... Marianne Williamson afi The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene' Brown.
When we don't value our creativity, we deny ourselves the joy and opportunity of our unique-across-time personal reactions and expression. Cave artists of the past are revered now that we discover their works. Why are prehistoric cave artists more revered that artist of the present? Those of us who create in privacy (today's cave artists) are looked upon as bored folks trying to keep busy with meaningless, childish activities.

The personal belief that art is not valued by ourselves and maybe others prevents us from the fullness of our creativite spirits. We believe we are just wasting time and we feel ashamed and guilty for taking so much time away from our externally "valued" position on earth.

Taking time to understand our reaction to what we perceive as "creative imperfections", guilt for not being "productive", diminished by engaging in "kids'play" hinders us from immersing ourselves in our art. We are often left thinking that a work that takes months to complete is not art. It represents our perceived imperfections in not being able to pour out a painting in a day so we can get back to the more respectable social activities.

To make art, we need to feel good about what we are doing whether it seems imperfect or lacking in mechanical strategies, and that takes work on our understanding of ourselves. Art is a holistic expression of who we are,  what we value about ourselves and our place in our universe.

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