The Seven Secrets of Art

    Philip Koch, High Trees, oil on panel, 28 x 21"
    2015. To be included in the Burchfield Penney
    Art Center's Live Auction at their annual Gala
    Sept. 19, 2015

I like to make lists. Here are some bullet points I sometimes give out to my students. As you can see I failed badly at keeping the list down to just seven ideas. 

The 7 Secrets of Art, and a few more.                                        Philip Koch

Secret #1. That there are Secrets.

#2. That there are in fact rules (though they can be elusive to understand).

#3. Tones (darks and lights) are more important than color.

#4. Shapes are more important than color.

#5. Silhouettes are more important than details.

#6. Intervals of empty space are more important than forms.

#7. Craftmanship is always in style.

#8. The problem with ones work-in-progress usually isn't where one thinks 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 revists the joys and terrors of childhood.

#12. An artist has to grasp some of the threads that were woven by the great masters and carry them forward into our own time.

#13. Creating art is ususally solitary, but sometimes the artist needs feedback from someone they trust who has a good eye.

#14. The art world is filled with all kinds of people. Most often they  

But inevitably you will run into things that are-
downright silly

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


  1. Great points Philip...surprising and eye-opening for students, I'm sure. Your guidance and their own experience will reveal their meaning and purpose.

  2. Thanks Steven. I had some wonderful painting teachers along the way whose lessons I dearly remember. I try to return the favor to the next generation of artists.


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