28 April 2007

what i've learned

warning: this may not seem revolutionary to anyone but me.

art doesn't just happen, it has to be inspired. you start with a picture in your head that you want to come out, or a subject that you just love (or feel strongly about), or a statement that you want to make.

i paid my $27.70 (for book late fees!) fine at the library yesterday and got some books and have actually been pouring through them, not just waiting for the information to come to me through osmosis.

i picked up design and composition secrets of professional artists. instead of the rules i thought i would learn (don't divide in halfs), i just flipped through and read about the art i liked. i noticed that none of these artists - real, professional, trained and talented artists - just sit down and make a fabulous artwork. they all have long, detailed processes.

some start with thumbnail drawings of the abstract shapes and add and delete until it's pleasing. one did a photo, then a realistic painting, then the third real painting expressing his feelings. one lady had a little rectangle cut in cardboard that she used as a viewfinder, then sketched pages of different views of her subject before picking one. know what her subject was? three lemons.

i read should i do what i love, which i know sounds like some pathetic self-help book, but it was actually full of practical tips and advice and different ways of looking at things. like you don't want to start over, you want to transition.

i also read about the scanning and digital pictures, and i really learned. with a notebook and pen and everything. also, the history of photography, which is pretty interesting. it seems like cameras came about because of people wanting to be able to make making art easier.

i'm continuing to read alex's chronicles, because it makes me feel like i am normal. maybe everyone is afraid of their insides at first. maybe all of us have doubt. also reminds me that simply enough: if i don't do it, i won't do it.

so, i feel like i'm onto the right path here. i need help. i need to learn. i need to undo and change. if these great artists have to work so hard to get a painting right, i certainly shouldn't expect to do it effortlessly.

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