Saturday, August 4, 2012

Taking on Goliath

Sheep and spring lambs
I am always a little puzzled when people qualify their desire to take an art class by saying: "I must warn you, I have no experience!" (Or they don't know how to draw, paint, use watercolors or pastels, etc. etc. etc...)  I thought that was the point of taking a class: to learn something or try something new! The other thing that I notice is that there is a notion that one may not express themselves artistically without a full arsenal of techniques, color theories and compositional strategies.

    So, I perked up earlier this summer when the story of David and Goliath was read at church (St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Paris, KY.)  The young shepherd, David, is reluctantly selected to take on the champion Philistine, Goliath.  The Israelites are dubious about David's abilities. Saul insists on cloaking David in heavy armor that is much to big for him. The armor is so heavy that David is not able to walk! David removes the bronze helmet, coat of mail and sword and instead places five smooth stones in his shepherd's bag and has his sling in hand. And there you have it, the recipe for success for David and, I believe, the way for success for would be artists.

      Often, folks who have finally gathered the nerve to try creating become paralyzed trying to remember all the rules and theories. They can't move, just like David in the armor.  Perhaps it is more important to go into battle with the tools you are already comfortable using. We all use our hands and our eyes and we can start there.  Even David makes a case for his abilities by talking about his experience as a shepherd, keeping lambs safe from lions and bears. I suspect that most people actually have fairly well developed color theories from their own experience of creating homes. They also know a great deal about composition and their own preferences.

    This is not to say that there is no place for the diligent study of the elements of fine art. There is; particularly for young people.  But for people who are coming to art a little later, why not use the tools you know; for which you have a second nature affinity. Simply think about training your eyes and your hands to create from your own perspective.


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