Monday, November 11, 2013

What Artists Need to Know


 
Caspar David Friedich, The Sea of Ice or The Wreck of Hope, oil on canvas, 1823-24.

I got a surprise this morning seeing something I wrote I'd completely forgotten about. 

My friend Mollie Earls posted on Facebook some notes I had used for a talk I gave at the Associated Artists of Winston-Salem down in North Carolina perhaps a dozen years ago. All these years later I still believe these things. Like any list of bullet points on a complex topic, it's biased and one sided, but I think totally useful advice. (I had wanted to title my talk the 7 Secrets of Art, but as you can see I couldn't seem to hold it to just that).

The 7 Secrets of Art, and a few more.                                        

Secret #1. 

That there are secrets.

#2. 

That there are in fact rules.

#3. 

Tone is more important than color.

#4.  

Shapes are more important than color.
           
#5   

Silhouettes are more important than details

#6.  

Intervals are more important than forms.
           
#7.  

Craftsmanship is always in style.
           
#8. 
           
The problem with one’s work is usually not where you think it is.
           
#9. 

Art is not an idea but a vision.
          
#10.  

Art is the marriage of the skeptic and the hopeless romantic.
           
#11.  

Art revisits the joys and terrors of childhood.
           
#12.  

An artist has to carry forward some of the threads that were woven by the great masters.
           
#13. 

While art is solitary, an artist needs feedback from someone they trust who has a good eye.
           
#14.  

The art world is filled in equal measure with people who are:
           

      genuine
      insightful
      exciting
      confused
      pretentious
      and downright silly.

#15   

Keep your eyes open, your heart warm, and stick to your guns.
           

            

2 comments:

  1. #15 I wish would read:
    Be kind to your art, be open to change, and cultivate what is authentic to you, even if it looks like somebody else's.

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