Friday, January 20, 2012

Condensed Art

I have found that it is really hard to write snarky essays when one is writing a term paper. No, it is not for school or a research situation, but hopefully will eventually be read and used by thousands of youth across America. No, I am not at liberty to fully explain who or what the project is for as right now the initial rough draft phase is drawing to a close and the resources and illustration/imagery process will begin. Some of you artist types may be getting a request from me asking for your participation by allowing your work to be published with “courtesy of” credit in the rear. But that is another day. 

The hard part has been to take complicated concepts and processes and reduce them to as little as three lines or one paragraph.  Something which we consider so simple, such as “shape” is really rather complex to explain. Trying to provide a tutorial for watercolor painting in 100 words or less really challenges the brain cells to edit. I don’t like to edit down to the core as you well know by now. 

In having to relearn the basic elemental building blocks of art and then prioritize some principles of design, this process has not only been a trip down memory lane, but also a good lesson on just what is art?  That question is one of the last sections I have to write, and answer, in about half a page of standard text.  Naturally I put it off until last and I am glad I did because recent FB postings have provided some fodder for the trough.

Stephen M. had a challenging interaction with a college professor, Erin M. was questioning the need for and role of statements in the art process, and so too have other artists posted questions about what and why and how as well as how dare they.  In reading the exchanges, the viewpoints, the opinions, the emotions….it dawned on me that I have to condense the whole of “art” into a few paragraphs, maybe a page or two, and that includes art history, philosophy and social purpose so a 12 year old can grasp it. Why me? Well….rule number one, don’t criticize something unless you want to be the one to change it and number two, always re-read number one. 

Of course there are good things which have come from such a process. All my old books have been dusted off and the dried up slips of paper which marked different pages are all over the floor, some with notes from long ago. A world of imagery long since forgotten now fills my mind. Alas, the references and resources stage lies ahead as well and I think newer versions of my favorite art books are surely out there. A copyright of 1974 might be just a wee bit “old”. Internet sources have to be included too which means checking each one out for appropriate content (no nudity, these are adolescent boys….). Yep, I am going to surf the net for nudes…just like the rest of the American public evidently. 

So on that note…..Snarky is a bit silenced for now. Deadlines are looming and my mental midterm is only a week away. For being a three letter word, “art” sure covers a lot of ground. The guys who are rewriting the reference books for sailing or shooting have it a whole lot easier that’s for sure.


  1. Hi Judy. So much appreciate your writing and humorous style. I think you meant that Erin M. "was questioning the need for and role of ..." here in your post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and giving us so much to think about! -Michelle M.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. (Let's try this again)
      Wishing you luck, patience, and loads of energy. I can completely understand where you are coming from... how to explain/condense something complex in order to help someone who has only been on Earth a short time to understand it! :) Looking forward to reading (and using) the final work.