Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, instructs her readers to take “Artist Dates”. These are to be done on a weekly basis, and are meant to be dedicated times for exploring art, time for nurturing your inner artist. This week, Kat has invited us to go to an art gallery for much the same reason, to bring to our attention how the art we observe affects us, and then look at how the art of others influences our photography.
You know from my post yesterday that we went to the Allen County Fair and took in all the sights and sounds. The displays of the 4-H projects were fun to look at, bringing back memories of my own 4-H days. There was a photography display that I was particularly interested in, as friends of mine had submitted photos. In that same building were all the handmade items, sewing, knitting, quilting, crocheting, some wood working, and so much more. I considered this part of my observation for this assignment, and learned some very interesting things which I’ll share later.
Saturday we went to visit Art Space in downtown Lima, a lovely gallery and one of the treasures of this community. There are many works of art on display right now, made of different mediums, displayed in such a way that you just want to let your eyes drink it all in. We’ve been there many times before and never been disappointed.
Here is what I learned in this assignment.
- I was inspired by how so many artists have taken different materials and transformed them into beauty… using paper, clay, wood, metal, wool, glass, beads…
- What I like was the quality in each work of art. More importantly I was impressed by the questions that the art brings to my mind.
- What I did not like? Art work that is too busy, too technical, too precise. There were large wooden puzzles that were magnificent in their own way, but they did not inspire me. That’s just me.
- What ‘called’ to me? Simple folded paper made into works of art. Hard to explain in a blog post…but I am so impressed by simple objects being transformed into beautiful art.
- What did I notice especially that was “new” to me? I have to use the word context. Placing a work of art in such a way that you are drawn to it, so the eye focuses on it. Not crowded, but allowed space to breathe. Sometimes this includes negative space around the object. When I compare the experience of viewing photos at the fair versus viewing art (or photos) in the art gallery, the art gallery experience wins. And it is not because the art is any better or worse in either place…. it’s because the art itself is honored when placed in such a way that it has space around it to breathe. I hope that makes sense to you.
- The art that moved me includes those creations that spoke to me, those that I saw as a whole and did not try to analyze or see how it was made. These creations were “seamless” to me. Not staged. Not fake or out of place. But very real. Complete. Fashioned in such a way that they looked natural, organic, as if to say “Why, this piece of wool has always been the figure of a man or of a spirit flower!” The artist knows how to find the creation in the medium or material being used.
- What elements would take from this and add to my photographic work? That element of space, of using negative space, and giving a subject room to breathe and be the focus of the eye. I have done this to some extent already, but I think this is what I will concentrate on more as time goes forward.
Then comes the part where I must share a photo from my own inspiration file that shows similar elements in my photography. I chose this photo of a simple but beautiful window, taken at Lakeside recently. This image is cropped so that what you really see is the window, the structure of it, and the window box of geraniums that add color and warmth. It’s a window on a house but the shape suggests a church building.
Thanks, Kat, for the assignment, for making me look deeper.