Saturday, June 11, 2011

Creativity...Art...Vision...Or Not?

Having not painted, or having not painted "art," for quite some time, my latest attempt was a somewhat shocking reminder that, absent the technique and skill, one's vision simply cannot be transferred to canvas.

That disappointing realization led me on a thought odyssey that raised more questions than it answered. The principal question it raised was this: does the creativity represented by visual art lay within the vision upon which a piece of art was based, or does it lay within the execution of the vision? Or is it the amalgamation of the vision and the techniques and technical skills required to execute the vision? Perhaps there are more options; perhaps artistic creativity is simply an elegant adjustment of one's technical limitations to one's vision, resulting in art that successfully integrates one's skill level with one's vision.

Ultimately, I think it can be reduced to this: despite the logic and legitimacy of the arguments that define creativity, creativity is a highly personal experience. I believe it can be intensely satisfying to the artist when the vision matches the artist's technical skills. But it can be intensely frustrating when they are on different planes.

When I shift the discussion to another creative landscape with which I am more familiar, that of using the written word, it becomes clearer to me. There, it seems to me, the "success" of the product requires successfully merging creative vision with technical capabilities. Exquisite technical capabilities, without the underlying vision, results in flat, dull, unremarkable language art. Intense creative vision without the technical skills for execution results in frustratingly chaotic word-bursts on the page.

Maybe I've answered my own questions, after all. There's creativity in my vision for the visual art I want to paint. But the frustrating paint-bursts on the canvas revealed the absence of the technical capabilities to carry it to fruition.

I've long believed the core capabilities of a writer are formed very early in life, perhaps before one finishes middle school. Those capabilities emerge through the use of language, early practice, and through perhaps an innate appreciation of language and what it can do. While those capabilities can be improved, honed, and refined later on, they cannot be created later on without that earlier foundation. So, too, I think, the core capabilities of a visual artist probably emerge early; if they are nurtured early and practices and developed, they can be refined later. But I doubt the technical skills required to translate vision into visual art can be successfully created later on. A certain level of mechanical skills may be acquired late, but that magical mix of vision and execution seem, to me, to require a foundation that can't be built after the walls are up.

At least that's what I think this morning.

1 comment:

Me, You, or Ellie said...

I've never tried to paint, although my art history professor always told me I should. I prefer to be wowed by those who *can* paint.

Interesting musings.....