Jackie read me a snippet this week from the wonderful Sun magazine– https://thesunmagazine.org/
When I was a shy twelve-year-old, my favorite subject at school was art, and my art teacher was German and very strict. One day she taught us how to use perspective. We were to paint the road going to our house. “The road is always narrower at the far end,” she said.
“Not at my house,” I said. (Our road widened at the end for a turnaround.)
“What?” said my teacher. “The road always decreases in the distance.”
“Not at my house,” I repeated. Before I could explain, she called me stupid and made me leave the class. Later I had to apologize for talking back.
I didn’t try to draw or paint again until I was sixty-seven and a widow with grown children.
I ended up teaching others to paint, which I am still doing at the age of ninety-five. Ann Taugher, Ketchum, Idaho.
Narrow criterion for art-making is stifling, limiting and counter-productive. Rather than embracing vision and enhancing progress, a strict idea of what skill is, which in math, surgery and auto mechanics is critical, in art is backwards. Criticism based on rules, no matter how accurate the rules seem, questions the maker’s vision. And if art is about anything, it is about authentic vision. Finding it and trusting it is key.
Skills similar to drawing perspective can be useful in art-making. But in the end they have little bearing on whether or not one has anything to say as an artist. Recall images of Egyptian Art, Cave Painting, Cubists, Neo-impressionists, Expressionists, Abstractionists, Surrealists, Minimalists—all art movements except the High Renaissance are comprised of great art that does not include proper perspective, proportion, value, volume, color-mixing, etc.
Vision can begin blurry and unclear. The point may be buried and dull at first. Focus and clarity comes in the doing and the making. Your vision will contain images that you may yet be able to express because “vision” is always ahead of us. But as it becomes clearer in the process, you learn what you need to.
The key is to not call yourself “stupid” and “leave the class”. Enjoy doing. Revel in each step. Know there is no perfect, but know that the road leads to plenty of wonderful!