The Common “Artist”

Traditionally, artists began as apprentices. They drew for endless hours and copied the work of the Masters. Tedious, but, as revealed by looking down the long line of master painters, very effective. Far too often, beginning artists bypass this crucial stage and skip to developing their own original style. The best way for an artist to gain understanding in how to effectively skew reality, is by practicing portraying reality. Style should be deconstructed form, not without form.

Charcoal Figure Study 1896

Picasso drew with figure study at age 15

As Virgil Elliot says, “There is no real danger of an inspired individual with a strong personality losing any of his or her distinctiveness due to thorough training in the technical aspects of art-making. All too often, focusing too much on style and too little on skills results in a set of handicaps that place a low limit on what a person can effectively express through art.”

Pablo Picasso is a classic example of form deconstructed. His early works display an expert understanding of form and matter. As he matured as an artist, he removed the superfluous, moved around the form rather than capturing it from one angle, and explored other various theories. If he had not had a solid understanding of transferring reality to canvas, he could not have succeeded in Cubism.

The Old Fisherman

The Old Fisherman, 1895

For perspective, I offer a personal story. In my early teens, I took to writing poetry. I did not know any poetic forms – other than that a sonnet contained 14 lines. In an effort to preserve my originality and stream of consciousness, I purposefully did not edit my poetry. Years later, like the artist who has always relied on their own style, who operates outside of the traditional methods of art-making, and who has never actually learned to paint, the results are quite laughable.

Science and Charity

Science and Charity, 1897

This entry was published on February 20, 2012 at 9:13 pm. It’s filed under Art, Art History and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “The Common “Artist”

  1. I’ve found that copying the works of others and of real life examples is extremely important. Drawing without reference or basis is not creativity, but ignorance.

  2. Can’t wait to see some of the early poems posted here. 😉

  3. I totally agree. Same goes for any form of art, as you say. I know it for a fact when it comes to dance. Nice post, and a very nice blog.

    Thanks for stopping by by the way 🙂

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