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Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Fixings for Perch Espagnole, Cereal and Art

Ala James Beard is what's for dinner tonight. This is the set up of what's needed to be done first--chop this, dice that prepare the sauce--later I bake it according to the Canadians--ten minutes per inch in a very hot oven. Perch are thin, after the sauce is made, I'm ten minutes away from done. I'm going to throw in some mushrooms too even though they are not in the recipe.

This drawing took twenty minutes all together. My time was split by Honey wanting to get his breakfast. Me and my spontaneous still life were blocking his way to making his cereal. I got out and went to the computer to read the new blog I'm following.

The discussion this morning was "What is Art."

I used to hate that question( because I didn't know the answer). Then, in time and a lot of looking at art, I decided there was no one definitive answer. All you have to do is walk through any great museum and you'd see that art is whatever anybody wants it to be--from a single dot on a field of color to found objects addressed to
Judith with Maidservant and The head of Holofernes. I left a comment saying just that yesterday. It was rejected. Not what the lady wanted to hear I guess? She's still looking for definitive. She's young, or didn't notice in art history that the Impressionists were the first to redefine art followed by the Cubists, followed by the Abstract Expressionists, followed by the Minimalists, followed by a lot of other movements launched by a lot of artists all looking for the answer to what is art to them. The fact of all those movements means it's anything the artist wants it to be. I adore the impressionists--not because they brought color to the art scene, but because they threw the art scene open to artists of all persuasions.

From my point of view. I do think that art is anything I find expressive of my feelings towards the subject in front of me or on my mind. I always have a subject, but it's not always apparent. Today it's the ingredients for a dish I'm going to make. Two or three posts ago, the subject, pulled from out of my head, was a figurative abstract of frustration. Years ago I did a massive painting about ambivalence--very abstract--has figures in it, but they are barely discernible. Then there was the one that was a journalistic collection of paper casts of my hand. The subject of that one was tenacity. And now, chocolate mice. What's that all about? I really have no idea--but I do think pastries are beautiful and I particularly like the gross idea of making a mouse, a dislikable rodent, out of chocolate, a very likable substance, to be eaten. I like the contrast of ideas. So my art goes all over the place depending on what is happening in my life and how I feel towards it. I'm an intuitive painter making art for art sake. But that's just me.

What about the public? What does the general public call art? What art do they buy? After twenty years in the art business (prior to the design business), the paintings that sold the most were figurative--flowers, landscapes, portraits, still lifes. The paintings that sold the least were abstracts--colors and forms and textures not attached to any recognizable subject. But all sales depended on how that painting would fit in with the decor of the customer's home. In business, I learned the public likes and buys art that the subject of the piece is clear and it's decorative too. If they are collectors/investors, they don't care about subject or decorative. They buy (bet) the artist whose work is going to increase in value over the years and cheer when the artist passes away.

The best part is: everybody is right and all art is valid. I think the question "What is art" belongs in The most Boring Art Blog. The lady should stop reading and start painting.


  1. I really like your description of "art". Right on.

  2. Thank you. Not many will. There's a lot of close minded snobbery in parts of the art world. And when you consider that the "mainstream" art history that's taught in our schools is limited primarily to European developments and then the New York scene, you know why and you wonder what about the art from the rest of the world? My favorite place is the museum. That's where you see it all. Some artists I've met have never been.

  3. I dislike the snobbery in the art world. And it starts with art school, where ererything is debated to death.

    Hey, the audience is the general public.

  4. LOL, I bet she didn't like your answer on art... And u r right about it.. I studied Art History in college...I will say that art to me is a person's own personal creative interpretation... Like photography there are some rule of thumb but other than that, there is no right or wrong form of creativity since there are no two artists that create in the same manner... There is a basis for form, shadowing, and I would think a rule of 3 like in photography... Balance as well... BTW are u still following the site that shushed your comment?

  5. Dear Linda,
    I really love your thoughts of what art is. My thinking is nothing different from you, but in a different description. "Art is identity." Thus, it can be anything. Individual discrepancy and variation is huge and deep. No one can successfully defines identity or who we are. Therefore, in my view, to narrow what art is inappropriate and arrogant.
    Apart from the definition of art, I love your painting. In addition, I always boast, "I can open up cans!" for those whom expect me, cooking. Oh, Linda, I'm very happy to have met you on the blog. One day, I'd like to see ye in person.
    Best regards, Sadami

  6. Dear All,
    Yes. I'm still following her blog. She's giving a book report--so maybe she's just swept up into the author's truths or holding on to her own? Also maybe my comment was too passionate? Tact is not one of my strong points. It's the designer in me. I draw straight lines from point A to B to C. And I was once told I don't know where the back door is. This is true, but this topic gnawed at me for years. I thought art school and art history courses were narrow and crippling in the 70's. Instead of encouraging students to find their own identity, an excellent word Sadami, they passed on their own. From what my cousin tells me, things are different now. She is given broad assignments to interpret as she pleases.
    How could I drop her blog. Look at this great discussion we're having.
    I'm still searching for my artistic identity at this golden age of bum knees and cancer threats. I'm using this blog as a tool. So far I've discovered I have quite a few identities. It seems the subject I choose dictates the rendering style? I really would feel more comfortable fitting into some cubbyhole. Maybe I could make a buck and get out of the design business. And there's another topic of interest: Art for Money. There's an eye opener book.