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Heard of Arnheim?

April 3, 2015

In the distanceI bought Rudolf Arnheim’s book, Art and Visual Perception, a long time ago. I thought maybe owning it (not reading it, mind you, but just owning it) would be like having a back door into understanding everything about art from the inside out—you know, how our ways of seeing art (design, illustration, paintings, sculpture…) correspond to our ways of making art.  He has a lot of thought-provoking nuggets in his book. For those of us who may feel we shouldn’t think too much about our creative process, he would disagree. He says:

Groping in vagueness is no more productive than blind adherence to rules. Unchecked self-analysis can be harmful, but so can the artificial primitivism of the person who refuses to understand how and why he [sic] works.

Hmmm.  And, this:

All seeing is in the realm of the psychologist, and no one has ever discussed the processes of creating or experiencing art without talking psychology.

Unfortunately he doesn’t define what he means by “psychology.” I like to think that most of my art process is outside the realm of formal psychology and is on a less verbal, more instinctive level—maybe because I work abstractly.

There is always a dialogue between me and the piece I am creating. From the moment an idea is conceived until the moment I stop working on it (because it is finished…or so funky that I have to quit), there is a give and take that occurs and drives the development, the evolution of a piece.

I don’t think of it as “a work of art” while I am working on it. It’s more like an exploration in a dark cave—an item to give form to a transitory thought or simply an experiment. Or it could be a response to a texture, a sound, or an arrangement of objects seen out the corner of one eye.


Two pieces from my upcoming show “Cipher, De-Cipher,” opening in May at the Fuller Lodge Art Center, Los Alamos, NM:

Two selections from Cipher, De-Cipher show

Mixed media paintings on paper, mounted on metal panels, 20×20

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 4, 2015 5:22 pm

    Sounds like an interesting book, I’ll check it out. I like your work a lot. 🙂


    • April 6, 2015 1:28 pm

      Thanks, Ruthie. It is a DENSE book, but one that I love to open at random and get a couple of thoughts…

      Liked by 1 person

      • April 6, 2015 1:32 pm

        i like doing that, too. i have a few books in progress all the time. i just pick and choose as the mood takes me. i have book of Walt Whitman poetry that i just open to a page and read. i love that. 🙂


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