Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Recognizing Reality, Revealing Enchantment

The sun rises on 12-12-12
Something that I try to drive home when I teach, is that artists must develop two types of perception: objective and subjective.  Of course, the act of perceiving objectively is used constantly as we look for just the right color or the accurate relationship between objects. Recognizing reality is always useful when you are trying to create or accomplish something. You have to know where things stand. This is true whether you are painting a landscape or running for President. I personally believe that this alone makes the case for art being part of everyone's education. Through art, and drawing in particular, you learn how to see things directly, think and evaluate for yourself. This is especially important now, when everyone and their brother is writing a blog (including me!) and throwing opinions out there willy-nilly. We need to know how to recognize reality for ourselves.

Fortunately, making art is not just about representing reality in a sterile fashion.  The whole idea is that something is loved enough to bring it into the world.  So, an artist also needs to develop subjective perception: What do I think is so important here? Why should this perception be shared? This type of perception is also in short supply. People can go through whole days (months? decades?) without seeing what a wondrous and beautiful world we live in. Perhaps we are too busy or preoccupied. I have to remind myself to keep my senses open to what is happening without any work on my part. Just today, I was walking Carly and I realized that the birds were sounding like Spring is coming. In my art, I want to bring out this beauty and wonder using my subjective perception. This is the true work of the artist, to shine a light on something that needs to be sensed. This can go in any direction, pointing out injustice, silliness, darkness as well as loveliness. To me, the news and much of today's art focuses on what is wrong and tragic in our world. So, I think it is important to reveal the enchantment that surrounds us.

     And that is my goal for this new year and beyond: to recognize reality and reveal enchantment.