Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Is it art if it is pretty?

I have been thinking about what an artist said in a workshop for quite some time now.  He said something about don't paint another pretty picture, that's not art.  Then a year later, a friend said how her husband is a serious art collector and will not let her buy this "pretty" piece of art because it is not art.  It is not making a statement, it is not dark, it is not saying anything profound.  She told me that what if she wants to have it because it makes her happy when she looks at it.  Isn't that a feeling?  Why does art have to only evoke dark emotions?  I agreed with her and told her about the statement this artist made to our class.  One day I posted a painting of butterflies and the words just came out as maybe I want to be a butterfly and fly away with them.  I thought what does that mean, why did I say that?  When I paint giant flowers and photograph flowers at odd angles I have literally thought what if I was so tiny that this flower was taller than me like Alice in Wonderland.  I have literally laid on the ground to take photos of flowers from a viewpoint in the garden of only 3" above the ground to see what it feels like.  That is called escapism.  What if artists paint "pretty" paintings to escape.  What are they escaping from?  That can be very dark.  What if an artist is moved to paint something "pretty"?  Isn't that an appreciation of nature's beauty.  Even a city scene crowded with people and the shadows on the ground.  For me that is capturing people as one - all busy - hurrying together or the patio scenes I like to paint - I always want to be in my patio scenes under an umbrella, enjoying the luxury of time, time with friends, the gorgeous weather in a group setting with others doing the same.  These are emotions and feelings that I like to experience and that is why I paint "pretty" paintings.  Anytime I stop to take a photo of a flower, an aspen tree, shadows, I am saying to the busyness of the world, "Excuse me, I just noticed some beauty that I must document because it moves me." 

Tulips Dancing in the Wind
15x22 watercolor
by Liana Yarckin

Come see me at Artscape at the Dallas Arboretum