Saturday, August 4, 2018

Rules in Art


Boat Waiting
There seems to be something about the field of art that lends ambiguity in its methods of creation and design. I believe the response to this lack of codification is an over-codification. If you've ever been critiqued or criticized on your artworks, you       might know what I'm referring to.  In short, rules, rules, rules!

There are several definitions for "rule". Some are more stringent than others. This word can instill some uneasiness in an artist. The wrong solution is to buy into the myriad and ultra-importance of all the rules without question and inflict it on self and others, often to the demise of would-be artists, including oneself! No doubt there are core skills worth learning: color theory, tonal values, perspective, size relationships, et al.  But beyond the basics, arbitraries enter in and diminish ones one's creative abilities and output, not to mention the joy of just creating!

What, really, are these rules except guides toward better design and composition, and thus create the right mood and message. A student needs to be comfortable with a subject and its so-called rules so as to have the needed deft and dexterity when applying them. Great skill requires great practice, yes, but skill isn't all manual or physical.  One must, as well, eventually acquire great understanding to achieve ultimate mastery.

I have a proposal. Let's look at these rules not as "supposed to's", but as guides with levels of workability. Some things applied in the creative process will work better than others in that situation. In practice we have to use judgement and ask, "Did that make it better or worse?"..."or just different?" The more mastery you have with these guidelines, the better and quicker you'll know. It will be instinctive.

So, be enough relaxed about the "rules" that your creativity can flow. Don't let them become your
shackles of despair". But don't be so dismissive or rebellious that you don't make good art. The Impressionists bucked the rules, but then formulated new ones to better suit their art form. And, even abstracts are guided by thought and planning. 

 Make good art, but enjoy the journey, too!