Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lessons in Art

I haven't had anything to say here for a while.  I've been busy with an online class I'm taking with Lesley Riley, called Compose Yourself.  She's covering the basics of composition, but with an emphasis on placing yourself into your work.  I'm learning a lot and stretching myself to try and keep up.

Ever since I began making art quilts, I have felt that I needed to stand back in the corner and keep my mouth shut, so that the "real" artists in the room would not know that I didn't belong.  After all, many of them had degrees in art or graphic design and they knew all the rules about what constitutes art.  Many of them worked in other media.  They were painters, sculptors, potters, etc.  All I knew how to do was operate a sewing machine. 

Over the years, I've taken numerous online classes from other fiber artists to try and learn as many techniques as I could.  I wanted to know all the secrets.  But, despite all that, I was still uncomfortable and unsure of my work.

It helped me gain confidence to enter and win recognition in a few art shows, but I still feel that the majority of the art world does not really accept textiles (a quilt?) as genuine art.  My other disadvantage is that my work is, for the most part, realistic.  Everyone expects or assumes that it will be abstract.  I don't know why. 

Earlier this year, I received an award at the Columbus Artists' Guild show.  The judge was a gallery owner, so I worked up my courage and approached her about having some of my work in her gallery.  While she said she loved my work (she did recognize it with an award), she did not think there was a market for it in her gallery.  She gave me the name of another gallery that might have some interest, and, by the way, did I do anything abstract?

That's one of the reasons I decided to take Lesley's class.  If I can learn the rules of good composition, maybe, just maybe, I can get a grip on how to go about making abstract art.  Don't get me wrong, I will continue to do realistic work--it's what I understand and I think it's where my talent lies--but, I would like to know enough to be able to try abstract to see if it's something I enjoy. 

There are some abstract pieces that I like and some that just leave me shaking my head, but I don't feel I have the knowledge to understand which piece is good artistically, and which is not.  Of course, that won't change my mind as to whether I like it .  I think people's reaction to art is almost totally subjective.  You either like it or you don't--it holds your attention and speaks to you, or not.  If you have to analyze it before you decide you like it, then  obviously you don't.

I also find it fascinating that people seem to purchase art, not based so much on their own likes or dislikes, but on whether other people think an artist is good.  My theory is that they are afraid to purchase and display something in their home unless they think it is acceptable to others.  Conformity and social acceptance are strongly ingrained in most people, and that's unfortunate.

And so, no photos today--just my thoughts.