My semi-abstract representation of an imaginary creature …
Finally I learned the difference between imitation and representation in art. Thank you, Judith. These concepts have been bothering me for quite a while. When I first started to learn to paint with watercolors, I had to relearn everything I knew. About paint, how to apply the paint, how colors work when you overlay them on other colors, and how to represent the subjects I’m interested in.
I can say ‘represent’ with confidence now. I’ve always represented semi-abstract subjects using acrylics, pen, pencil. I’ve made embroidered, macrame and knitted hangings, and used a darkroom to change my photographs.
[I’m telling you, mobile phones are amazing. Can do everything I did then in the dark room, in the comfort of my arm chair, or on the bus. You know what I’m saying.]
Since I got interested in fungi about thirteen years ago, I have flirted with the idea to perhaps practice botanical drawing or painting. That would mean going back to the life drawing classes I studied in a Visual Media strand long ago … the pure art of imitation, copying the subject of study, stroke by pencil stroke, onto the paper.
Lately though I’ve been asking myself whether I’d have the patience for that now. It’d even more like meditation than laying water colors on paper. Not that that’s a bad thing. But am I ready to let go what I’m still learning?
Recently I mentioned the connections between art and philosophy — a branch of study referred to asaesthetics. On this point, which deals with beauty and taste, I’m content to go with the conventional wisdom that says beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. You like what you like. I like what I like. Sometimes we’ll be in agreement as to what is beautiful and note-worthy; at other times we’ll have very different opinions. Still, all is well. We’re each entitled to our opinions.
My study oftonalism, however, has brought me a bit deeper into philosophy and art. I’ve been reading more about the life and work of Asher B. Durand, one of my favorite artists. Several years ago as I first began oil painting, I read Durand’s collection of “Landscape Letters”. While I enjoyed his essays on art, I was beset with questions. I…
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