Wednesday, June 23, 2010

the dance of the art

Every living thing does its dance, amoebas, bees, birds, elephants and people. We dance according to our body structure, muscle toning and mind-body coordination. Watch people on the dance floor, it is telling. Or running, all are mobile but some are tuned for speed. There are natural athletes and ones who overcome natural physiology with training and practice.

In my experience there are natural artist who seem to do art in the natural process of their living and the trained. It is possible to study the principles of art and apply them. Just like with running. Your knees may bump and you gasp for air and flail your arms. The coach will teach you good running posture, good breathing management and put your arms in sync for power and energy conservation. And don't forget runners psychology, you need to think like a runner for the sprint or the long distance. With all the elements in play you teach your body the dance. When the body knows the dance, creativity comes out on top of what has become second nature via practice. The body does what it has been taught freeing you for tweaking, pushing and improvising.

Just worked with a master brick layer. His moves were honed by years of doing the job. He was effortless in his process, the moment decisions and adjustments. He asked me if I wanted to try it. I said, not me, you have all the moves down. For me it was not the stacking of bricks on gunks of mortar, it was the practiced moves. Man, he made it look easy as he danced his art. I just mixed the mortar and looked with wonder and awe. The wall is beautiful.

I have some natural ability that runs in my family. I and my cousins grew up drawing. They more than I loved to draw, I liked puzzles and erector sets and model cars. Like any kid I watched cartoons, Saturday was my time. Before the cartoon show there was a home show where they showcased new houses. I was intrigued and started sketching houses. First awkward front views, then really bad perspective views. After learning a bit about perspective my drawing had that tinge of reality. At the same time I explored pencils and pens and various papers. I didn't know I was teaching myself to dance. I was not so good at sports as my older brother could attest, but then he couldn't draw either.

I know that there are those prodigies who seem to do it from birth, but I consider myself lucky or blessed as I have learned to dance over time out of the frantic push for stardom or the urging to get an art job. I am still learning and enjoying art. Many I have known are trained, over worked and tired of it all. Even my retired mom-in-law, artist, school teacher is so much a critical perfectionist, she doesn't let art flow its own course. She never learned "good enough for now, when I learn more I will do more". She tried so hard to agonize and perfect every work. That is her dance. My point is that sometimes it is the artist that needs the tweaking more than the techniques and skills.

That is my sincere advice, learn the techniques, skills and be mindful of yourself the artist. Your body will learn to dance the moves you want to make, yet if you don't take care, your appearance in your work will be telling. That telling is the part that speaks to your viewers. They may not know the force, but they can sense it.

No comments: