Art Resolutions is a self-imposed initiative to create an art study every day for a year. Welcome to Study 45.
Of the many skills and sensitivities required to create work of merit, decision making is one of the least documented and most essential. My seminal lesson in aesthetic “choosing” is one of the most shocking stories of my undergraduate experience. On entering my freshman year at University of Wisconsin-Platteville, drawing professor Bud Wall, reviewed my high school portfolio. The crowning glory of my efforts during those years was a watercolor still life of a glass of wine and green grapes in the foreground of a china plate. I’d labored long and hard on the shadows and subtle shadings of the transluscent skins and complex wine glass reflections and highlights. Bud took a brief survey of the piece, grabbed a straight-edge and tore off 3/4 of the painting. Gesturing to the bottom left corner where the grapes and glass resided, he said,”This is the good part.”
I sat stunned. Once recovered from the sense of violation, I knew two things. His methods were abominable. There are other ways to convey a lesson. The “Whiplash” technique does not insure the elevation of genius. Nevertheless, his assessment was correct. Editing and the discriminating ear and eye, in whatever medium and at whatever scale, is the art of uncovering the treasure, defining the diamond, illuminating the focal point.
The current study has been an exercise in evaluating what is working. What isn’t. As studies are meant to be, it is a place to take risks and work out issues. An environment to experiment and discover. A chance for something unexpected and surprisingly different to happen.