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I was at a local eatery the other day and they had remodeled and in the remodeling they changed everything around. All they did was add a new counter but now, instead of starting at one end of the counter, ordering there and going right to pay, you start in the middle and go to the left – which used to be the place to order – to pay. And now you go clear across the room for cups. There’s a bottleneck of people trying to order where the tables are and a big empty space where we used to order. Phew. It was exhausting – though entertaining – to watch people figure out what the heck to do when they entered. Phew.
While I was enjoying the show, I got to thinking about flow and direction. Part of the confusion in the eatery is based on the fact that that the way it used to be reflected the way so much is in this country- left to right. We read left to right, we drive on the left hand side of the line and the cold water faucets are always on the right to avoid burns as most people are right handed and are just naturally tuned into the right as weird and ethnocentric as that sounds. If rightocentric were a word, it’d be that to.
Then I thought about flow in art – any kind of art, whether painting or dimensional mixed media. No matter how avante garde your art, this is one of the conventions, this left to right thing we are wired into, you must stick to. Our eyes – and brains – are used to the left to right flow.
So if, for instance, you are creating a piece of art and want to convey pattern – or even just a thought about patters in art or in life – remember if you attempt to lead the eye from left to right, the eye – and mind – of your viewer is more likely to be able to follow your idea or theme easily, thus understand any underlying meaning.
This weekend I’ve been clearing the clutter. Throwing out what isn’t even worth donating, recycling stacks of paper – it’s been used on both sides- and deciding what I’ve been holding onto that I don’t want to let go of but want to get it out of it’s hiding place and into the light.
To that end, I actually started an art journal. I don’t know how much art I’m going to do in it but the pages are nice and thick and soft for writing and doodling. My first entry was to give a nice home to something I found online at a blog called Kind Over Matter.
Kind over Matter is a great little blog about living a authentic life and maintaining inspiration. I always enjoy what I find there but just had to print one article out. So it just sort of hung around my desk for a while and then it occurred to me to go ahead and start that journal I always say I’m going to with that.
My point is, journaling is hard if you just think of it as something you have to do to answer deep questions or get the ol’ artistic juices going so if you are having trouble starting, start by just putting into your journal things you ha
ve been hanging on to that have some meaning for you. Then you may find that since you used o
utside objects to get a head start, your journal will take on a life of it’s own and become mostly wh
at we are all told journals must be: Things that are deep inside you and need to come out.
Sorry to be gone so long. Right before I was planning on doing a video for the blog, my brother died and it hit me pretty hard. I had to just sort of concentrate on getting through that and the minimum of other tasks like work and school.
But I’m back now and celebrating with a sale on all these old Somerset Studio magazines I have around the studio. So pick one out now and get 10% off. I have them sort of spread out – I do have some at Etsy
Have you seen Craftstack? It’s a new contender in the race to attract the crafty and artful among us to a place where we can sell our wares online. But the catch is – or catches are – that Craftstack is not an over-saturated marketplace right now and they put in the effort to get Craftstack in general known. They have even had a major newspaper do a story about them! Check it out and while you’re there, check out my storefront there Life Captured Framed Collages
If imitation is the sincerest for of flattery, could it also be the kindest way to teach yourself a new art technique?
Contributors to Somerset Studio invite readers to use the techniques they demonstrate in order to reproduce their creations. For artists who use the instructions, assemble the necessary tools, and try to re-create what the published artists have done, is this the best, most non self- judgmental way for them to learn and appreciate their own talents? When we try to recreate or copy what has been created by another artist, we might feel a little less like our very heart and soul depends on the outcome if the piece comes out differently than the original than if we create something that is not what we had hoped, planned, or intended. We may in fact actually learn something about how we choose – maybe subconsciously, maybe consciously – to work with certain tools.
As kids when we first learned cursive – at least when teachers used to teach it – we learned by copying letters above the chalkboard and in writing in lined tablets. We traced, we imitated, we learned. Is it like that in art? Perhaps to learn, and feel comfortable that when the learning process is done what we have is truly our own, we need to imitate others first.
When we sat in class in a Zen like trance and traced letters, the teachers knew that eventually our letters would take on their own – our – personality. And so it is with art. When we use methods of artists with more experience than ourselves, we learn things that will serve us in many ways throughout our lives.
So feel good about copying for learning or self-satisfaction what has been created by others, it will help you relax into nonjudgmental learning and ultimately, develop you own style.