Art quotes

"For the last 20 year period I've been working with ideas conceived as a child." -Red Grooms

Friday, May 17, 2013

Henry James - Three Big Questions

Purple Pair
Today we had the opportunity to meet a young recent M S U grad at the new Broad Art Museum. She will be starting her teaching career teaching science and art. What a great subject marriage. Her enthusiasm for both subjects will carry her far in her new beginning. 

We discussed the lack of foresight by the cash strapped school districts and how the arts programs are the first programs to be downgraded or outright cut. Just to confirm our gut feeling I looked up- the value of art- and let Google gather the evidence. The Google survey shows that most citizens, too, have a gut feeling about the loss of arts in public education and backed up the evidence with some very substantial citations confirming this point. There are measurable outcomes which the art community has known and supported for years, ARTS BELONG IN THE SCHOOLS.

The writer Henry James proposed three questions to help define the artist work …1, what was the artist trying to achieve…2. Did they succeed ... 3. Was the effort worth doing?  In researching the merits of the arts programs in schools we must look at the findings that are very conclusive and I invite you to also take the few minutes and Google this topic. It’s affirmimg to find support for your point of view and pass the word along to those hard working and often misunderstood public servants who manage our schools.  

Descending Day
We can use James’ art analyses by replacing artists with art patrons to help us grade our efforts and stay on track in keeping the arts alive and enriching lives for the generations to come. If we get an A+ for our efforts, we can say we presented the best positive aspects of our culture to our children, our future replacements.

Traverse Morning
And to the first year teacher and her grand adventure in teaching, keep your enthusiasm and remember the arts community is counting on you for the next great link from past to future. Remember James’s third question? Was the effort worth doing? Think of the lives this new teacher will touch. Let’s all keep the cultural beacon shining. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Lesson in Mastery: 10,000 hours practice

       Spring is here and the outdoor art shows begin in the northern states. We have a very good show coming up May 18-19, the East Lansing Art Show. I always remember asking an artist at the show how long he had been painting. The day was hot and near the end of the two day event so his remark was rather terse and had a bite to it. Not looking at me, he said, “acres and acres of canvas.” I thought I got the message, but year’s later after reading, Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, the art fair comment made more sense, acres and acres, that’s a lot painting.
Summer Sunset 12x16 acrylic, mixed media 

      Gladwell gives examples of people who have mastered their chosen endeavor and are recognized for their accomplishments. The one common element they all have going to reach the top in their field is 10,000 hours of practice, think of it 10,000 hours. That is a lot of time at the piano or at an easel. Even Mozart was very good at a young age but the more he composed the better he became until he reached his 10,000 hours later in his life.

Summer Fusion 20x24 acrylic on canvas
      The Beatles, too, had to perform eight hours straight on stage for weeks at a time perfecting that special Beatles sound. We see the practice/ achievement connection as a baby starts to walk. It takes a lot of tumbles to get the skills worked out.  We marvel at the major events in our lives as we too put in those 10,000 hours to reach the goals we set for ourselves.
Coffee at the Beach 11x14 oil on linen board

      When we go to the outdoor art shows this summer, remember the artists are hot, tired and wanting to get back to their studio to put more time on the art, valued time toward 10,000 hours to mastery. Enjoy the outdoor art scene and remember to support the arts as we enjoy this beautiful summer.