Tuesday, January 16, 2007

You Can’t Go Home Again…or Can You??

When I went to the university to get my BFA and MFA, we were taught certain things. Many of the lessons were very prejudicial. I realize that now. However as a young woman with art stars in my eyes, I listened intently and believed. One of the things I learned is you have to make art of value. Content was of utmost importance. It had to be DEEP. The art of the times was full of innovation. It was so important to make ART anew.
Consequently, I have a stilted perspective of art and art history. Still life? I think not. Plein Air? Oh please! Crafts?? Get real! Of course, these are not sane judgments. They are just what I was taught. I have spent decades trying to reform my mind!
There are times I wonder what would have happened if I had gone to school during a different era. I just wonder. I can’t change that, so I move on. I was wondering today if we can go home again? I don’t mean literally arriving on the porch steps of our childhood house. I mean go back to where we started philosophically. In my case, I was thinking about when I first started to aspire to be the artist I am today.

I don’t want to talk about my “day job”. I just don’t want to talk about the details. Arghhhhhhh! However, when I was at work today, I set up a still life of flowers. I felt the students needed to understand the concept of still life. Also, flowers arrangements were a colorful solution to the problem. After setting up a number of still life settings, I looked at them before the students arrived. I thought “Oh, brother!!”
The students started to file in and I did my lesson spiel. They began to paint. One student was stymied. He wanted help. I talked to him for a moment and then used his paper to show him how to start. All of sudden HOME began to rush back to me. Feeling the paint work through the brush while I looked at the still life set up was so comforting. I was right there back in Mrs. Bigler’s watercolor class. She was a professor in the “watercolor department”. That was another NO NO. (Too soft) I can still hear her gruff voice yelling out demands and strict instructions. I remember her GERANIUMS. She was really into those flowers! She didn’t have any qualms about content, innovation, or “high art”. Maybe flowers and/or still life was high art to her(?) Regardless, she just wanted us to paint flowers.

Now, I understand why she believed and felt that way about art. She taught us about the essence of art making and creativity. That sounds pretty “Ta Ta” to me!! Maybe that is why getting older is so cool. You finally “get it”.

"Stupid Digital Flowers for a Stupid Website Header"

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