27 October, 2008

Decisiveness - Drawing the Line

Kanji Writing
15.5" x 9"
Casey Klahn

In the post, Characteristics & Goals, we began a path of exploring some traits that it would behoove the fine artist to acquire. See the traits posts here.

The artist that I aspire to be has:

Creative Integrity
Self Understanding


Matisse said something to the order of, "Make your lines decisive!" Unfortunately I have lost the attribution to this quote, but our great Modernist is known for his superb rendering of the simple, graceful and purposeful line.

By the way, I have quit using Matisse images because I was reminded that he has an active estate, and is also not past the 70 year rule vis-a-vis fair use. Try this site for an pictorial homage to the man (apparently with rights?)

The trait of decisiveness comes with competency. If you believe in yourself and your materials, you can be bold with marks and with colors. Draw much. Make a promise to yourself to draw at least 1,000 drawings this year.

Be Keen

Mental agility helps. Test yours here.

Now that you (may) hate me for that, let's get back to mental agility. In order to be resolute in one's art, I suggest having a keen mind.

Our Henri Matisse was known for his sharp wit. He generally dominated in groups, sometimes taking over the direction of his class of art students from slow teachers. He was a class clown and a general agitator. A rather unusual story is told of his having defeated a master hypnotist when he was a youth - Henri being the only one to resist the powerful stage man.

Art itself has been held up as a pursuit beneficial to honing the mind. Other general fitness activities, social interaction, active learning, and one of my required pursuits, reading, can keep the gray matter healthy.

Is your I.Q. hardwired? Is there any wiggle room for your brain to grow?
Make these smart choices to become a smarter artist:

  • Hang out with people smarter than yourself.
  • Blog.
  • Study language.
  • Become interested in new things.
  • Read an artist's biography.


colorspeaker said...

Wow. Casey you really are giving some thoughtful stuff here...I like the lists-"hang out with people who are smarter than you are." Dead on.
If we have aspirations to have a character of real and genuine quality, one must get that way with effort. It is applies to being a better artist, as well as a human being. You seem to have pointed it all out. Thoughtfully done.

colorspeaker said...

I "linked" you-hope that is okay.

Deborah Paris said...

Absolutely, positively, loved the metal agility test-very clever! You have hit on a significant point here Casey. Creating good art requires a generous helping of mental horsepower. All parts of our brains are called into action- both left and right- painting is a problem solving exercise and requires that we bring all our resources to bear. As Edgar Payne said, knowledge precedes execution.

jafabrit said...

You really have blogged on some great issues and though provoking ideas. I think you are spot on too, although I feel too lazy to take the test lol! oops.

Adam Cope said...

Matisse was also a terrible self-doubter...tho' probably not as much as Jackson Pollock, who guided himself by a sort of 'negative decisiveness' if you like. His testing was of the order: 'it's NOT that, it's NOT that, it's NOT that' & so the reamining contender was that which was left standing.

Kind of elimainting, Kind of rubbing out... which was one of the reasons why I suspect that Matisse so much like charcoal, with it's ease of erasure.

Casey Klahn said...

I am thrilled with the comments for these posts, and thanks to all.

Thanks for the links, Julianne. Thanks for the Payne quote - it'll probably be in my next post, Deborah.

You were wise to skip the test, Corrine. Adam, Old Matisse had quite a sleep disorder - no doubt he suffered for being a break through artist. Cunning comments about Pollock - I didn't realize the negative decision loop, and it is fascinating to think of.

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