A Return to Fine Art
"I feel like a bad guy this time of the year," I said to Bethany.
"Because all I feel I do is crush children's dreams of what they want to paint."
We're approaching the new year and many of my classes start new painting projects! I love it, but if I have to tell one more student "no" to painting a Hello Kitty or Doctor Who police box or a tree someone did at a Sips n Strokes party, I may cry! It's not that I don't enjoy a fun painting party or want to lock Hello Kitty away from the world. And I love the Doctor (nerd alert). But what most of these rejected projects have in common is they would take one sitting to complete if you are working with acrylic. Why does it shock my students of all ages when I tell them the minimum time of working on their paintings will be three to four months?
I'm not saying you can't be a speedy artist. I'm actually faster than a lot out there, but in a world of microwaved-insta-fast-directly-right-away-popular-nowness, fine art still takes time. And that is beautiful.
Da Vinci took four years on the Mona Lisa, and Michelangelo, along with his team, was on scaffolding for four years in the Sistine Chapel.
It takes time to be inspired. It takes time processing it in your mind. It takes research time. It takes time purchasing supplies. It takes time for composition. It takes time with base coats of paint and lines, and shapes, and perspectives, and shadows, and tints, and hues. And making mistakes. And standing washing brushes. And stepping back and analyzing. And adding finishing touches. And finding the right buyer. And framing. And hanging.
Yet, after all this is done, what is left to do with it? What is it meant for?
It's meant for looking.
Just simply standing or sitting and gazing.
Only elements talking to you through what you see. Only the subject's placement to tell us a story. Maybe as you truly look, you will reflect on something that resonates with you. But we don't really know how to do this anymore. We've forgotten the art of art -- slowing down and being found beautiful. If you're rushing, you'll miss it.
So this is why our theme for RVA the year of 2015 is:
Return to Fine Art
It's a challenge to my students, my buyers and patrons, and to myself, to enjoy the popular arts, yet not forget to slow down. To refine a skill. To never hastily gaze on mastery.
"Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men."
Wishing you a Happy New Year!
Slow down, work diligently, look, and return to fine art.