Connecting with Art II

One of the reasons why I like the show at the Asian Art Museum by Hughen/Starkweather (discussed in the previous post) is that it speaks to making art in a non-linear way. It isn’t drawing or painting directly from looking at something. The artwork was created with a very real and personal involvement with the stories told and the materials at hand.

In order to make good art we need to connect with what we are doing.

One way we connect is by being engaged with our subject – the thing we are looking at. It can be that we look so closely that we feel we are actually touching the object with our pencil or brush. Perhaps we draw something that we can’t see but can only touch, using our hands to dictate the next move with the drawing tool. Or, like Hughen/Starkweather, maybe we connect by listening.

We connect by understanding our drawing tools and how our body works with them. Or exactly how our chisel and hammer respond to each touch. The relationship, the bond, is in the dialogue with our materials.

We connect by being our true selves in our artwork, honest about what we like and what we want to make art about.  We connect by being involved in our own inquiry.

Art making becomes magical when we connect to our subject, our materials, and ourselves in a truthful way. 

The photo above is from an exercise I do in class: Draw an object that is inside of a bag. Don’t look at it. Try to get someone else to put something in the bag so that you get a fresh start with the object.  Draw it only from touching. Develop the conviction that your pencil tip is the very same thing as your fingers moving across the surface of the form.  This drawing was made by Stephanie.

Melissa Weiss