Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Art Happens

"Art happens- no hovel is safe from it, no prince may depend on it, the vastest intelligence cannot bring it about, and puny efforts to make it universal end in quaint comedy and coarse farce. This is as it should be, and all attempts to make it otherwise are due to the eloquence of the ignorant, the zeal of the conceited."
James McNeill Whistler

   "Art happens..." and, according to Whistler, art happens in spite of us. As a teacher of art, I am forever curious as to how art happens. So I make lists...questions to myself. For example-

What does a successful lesson look like?

Is the current lesson about process or product?
(Can/should the two be treated separately?)

How far am I willing to go to help a student?

My Morning Infographic
Ink on McDonald's napkin

   Teachers need students. Currently I am giving private lessons to Jadon and Lael. They are the picture of an art teacher's ideal- teachable, eager, and creative.

The creativity that a child carries exponentially exceeds that of an adult if given the freedom and encouragement it deserves...because a child knows how to play. The world is filled with wonder-repressed adults who have forgotten how to play; forgotten the joy of a dot that keeps going, forgotten how to form lines that speak to the heart of a matter.

Art reminds us to remember.

Art restores wonder.

   Buechner said, "In a world that for the most part steers clear of the whole idea of holiness, art is one of the few places left where we can speak to each other of holy things."

Self Portrait by Jadon

Blind contour of Lael by Jadon

Self portrait by Lael

Blind contour of Jadon by Lael

   Teaching children the principles and concepts of art keeps me reminds me to keep life simple.

   My concept sketches are simple...enough information to remind me what I saw in the moment so that I might paint it later. This is the image that came after reading Matthew 26:69-75-

Then he began to curse and swear, "I do not know the man!" And immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, "Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly.

   I plan to use my face as Simon Peter.

   I am also considering a companion piece- The Restoration.
(see John 21:17) 

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