Today's Guest Post is by artist Daniel J. Keys
. Find out how you can be a guest author.
As artists, it is essential that we constantly be expanding our minds, especially where our creative skills are concerned. Whether you're already an accomplished painter, or just beginning on your path to artistic excellence, there is always more to learn and higher levels of perfection to aim for.
Study good art
Our aim should be to grow and improve, and there are several ways of doing this. One important method is often underestimated, and therefore overlooked: Studying good art.
By "good art", I mean work (whether paintings, sculpture, or any other medium used to convey a message) that is created by accomplished artists who have proved themselves to be the best at what they do. "Master" is the title often given to such a person, and rightly so: they've established themselves as worthy of the title through many years of study, and devotion of their lives to their craft.
I haven't had the privilege of studying under a master artist, but I still want to increase my knowledge where painting is concerned, so I've had to generate methods of teaching myself. As a self taught artist, I've found it beneficial to study works of art that inspire me and are extremely well executed. I know that through careful observation of these masterpieces, I can learn to “hone in” on my own painting skills and benefit from the master's proven techniques.
Your eyes are gates
By "Study", I'm not referring to casual glances, but rather, careful and in-depth scrutiny of masterful artwork.
The more we focus on good artwork, the more our own work will improve. The reason for this is quite simple: when we study art, such as a painting, our minds store the information gathered while viewing the piece, and the longer we look at it, the more we'll see. As we then endeavor to create our own works of art, we subconsciously make decisions based on the information we've received.
The art that we spend the greatest amount of time screening will most influence the decisions we make while painting (or sculpting, etc.). For example: Have you ever read a fashion editorial, and later found yourself buying an article of clothing that closely resembled the photos in the article? You liked the way it looked in the magazine, and analyzing those photographs influenced your shopping decision.
Why do large companies spend millions on television commercials? Because those companies know that if you view their advertisements long enough, and frequently enough, you'll be more apt to invest in their products. They know that your eyes are like gates, and images can be used to enter into your thinking. The same is true when it comes to art. The more time you spend studying it, the more it will begin to show through in your own work, and influence the decisions you make, good or bad.
"Don't watch something you don't intend to do yourself"
That's what I was told as a child, where my television viewing choices were concerned, and you know, it's true. If you put something before your eyes long enough, chances are you'll eventually find yourself acting it out. That can be a good thing, or it can be bad, because it works whether you’re observing an exceptional piece of art or something created by an unskilled artist. We must be conscious of this if we desire to take our work to the next level.
Some questions to ask yourself when viewing a piece of art:
What is the artist trying to say?
What is the focal point of the composition?
What techniques have been used by the artist to create the specific look of the painting?
How would I have painted this piece?
What use of drawing, value, color, and edges has the artist made?
By asking ourselves these simple questions about every work of art we examine, we learn to really see, and then take from it the information we need to be successful in our own work. These images stored in our brains form a foundation upon which our creative efforts can build. After all, a good design for a painting means nothing unless you have the knowledge and skill it takes to execute it in a way that will satisfy you.
This article originally appeared at the following URL: