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coyote
02-17-2004, 04:20 PM
I write a monthly art page for my local newspaper. Usually, I do a column called "Draw What You See" that gives basic drawing tips. The following is that column for the next issue:

The Five P's
What makes a person an artist? Now, there's a loaded question. In practically any occupation you can think of, the masters of the craft have been called "artist": Surgeons, plumbers, chefs, hair stylists, bricklayers.
People say "burger flipping is an art" or "that engine is a work of art". OK, I'm not going to go there or dispute anyone who considers themselves an artist. But for the sake of this discussion, I'm talking about people who create visual art for its own sake, most notably drawing, painting and sculpture.
So, what makes a person an artist? I mean, what causes someone to go from not being an artist to being one?
There are two basic schools of thought. The first is that some people are born with talent, or have a "gift". This has a sort of secret, mystical feel to it. Talent is often preceded by the words "God-given". The other idea is that people can learn to create art. This is a concept that is promoted by art teachers who make a living teaching others to be artists.
I believe that anyone with reasonably good hand-eye coordination can learn to draw. If you can write legibly, then you have the physical skills required to draw. More important to becoming an artist is learning to see.
Though artists still love to hear compliments on their talent, the concept of "talent" is, in a sense, somewhat belittling to the study, understanding and hard work involved.
It assumes that the artist was born with a special gift that causes beautiful art to emanate from their fingertips with ease, and it excuses those without dedication to the craft with a simple "oh well, I just don't have the talent". Art is hard work.

Talent is largely a manifestation of five qualities... what I call the five P’s:

PERCEPTION is the ability to see. It’s what I’m talking about when I say “draw what you see”.
Going beyond the visual processing of everyday seeing, artistic perception is the ability to translate what we see into forms and shapes of shadow and light.

PATIENCE is what allows us to see, in our mind’s eye, the goal of the finished art and accept the work involved in realizing that vision. It’s rarely quick and easy. The many hours of seemingly tedious work, and rework, separates a successful artist from those without patience.

PERSISTENCE keeps us going through that hard work. Often there comes a point in an art project when it just doesn’t seem to be working. There is an “ugly stage” where the spark of life in an initial sketch seems to be lost, but continuing to refine and correct the piece past that point will eventually bring it back on track.

PASSION is the drive that is sometimes mistaken for “talent”. It’s the desire to create that makes an artist go on. It fuels all the other qualities, and the never ending quest for more knowledge and ability. An artist never stops learning and never wants to.

PRACTICE brings our art to new and higher levels. It is the essential “use it or lose it” principle. An artist practices all day, every day, even if it’s simply seeing the world as an artist. Practice develops the vision, the abilities and muscle-memory that make art a natural and intuitive process.

Eugene Veszely
02-18-2004, 04:15 AM
Interesting piece...will have to read it again to digest it some more :)

Rose Queen
02-18-2004, 01:58 PM
This is great, Todd! I wish you'd share your other columns with us! :clap:



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ArtsiePhartsie
02-18-2004, 03:01 PM
Funny how life gives us what we need when we need it. I needed to read this today. Thank you.

~Artsie

amsawyer
02-23-2004, 09:57 AM
I write a monthly art page for my local newspaper. Usually, I do a column called "Draw What You See" that gives basic drawing tips. The following is that column for the next issue:

The Five P's
What makes a person an artist? Now, there's a loaded question. In practically any occupation you can think of, the masters of the craft have been called "artist": Surgeons, plumbers, chefs, hair stylists, bricklayers.
People say "burger flipping is an art" or "that engine is a work of art". OK, I'm not going to go there or dispute anyone who considers themselves an artist. But for the sake of this discussion, I'm talking about people who create visual art for its own sake, most notably drawing, painting and sculpture.
So, what makes a person an artist? I mean, what causes someone to go from not being an artist to being one?
There are two basic schools of thought. The first is that some people are born with talent, or have a "gift". This has a sort of secret, mystical feel to it. Talent is often preceded by the words "God-given". The other idea is that people can learn to create art. This is a concept that is promoted by art teachers who make a living teaching others to be artists.
I believe that anyone with reasonably good hand-eye coordination can learn to draw. If you can write legibly, then you have the physical skills required to draw. More important to becoming an artist is learning to see.
Though artists still love to hear compliments on their talent, the concept of "talent" is, in a sense, somewhat belittling to the study, understanding and hard work involved.
It assumes that the artist was born with a special gift that causes beautiful art to emanate from their fingertips with ease, and it excuses those without dedication to the craft with a simple "oh well, I just don't have the talent". Art is hard work.

Talent is largely a manifestation of five qualities... what I call the five P’s:

PERCEPTION is the ability to see. It’s what I’m talking about when I say “draw what you see”.
Going beyond the visual processing of everyday seeing, artistic perception is the ability to translate what we see into forms and shapes of shadow and light.

PATIENCE is what allows us to see, in our mind’s eye, the goal of the finished art and accept the work involved in realizing that vision. It’s rarely quick and easy. The many hours of seemingly tedious work, and rework, separates a successful artist from those without patience.

PERSISTENCE keeps us going through that hard work. Often there comes a point in an art project when it just doesn’t seem to be working. There is an “ugly stage” where the spark of life in an initial sketch seems to be lost, but continuing to refine and correct the piece past that point will eventually bring it back on track.

PASSION is the drive that is sometimes mistaken for “talent”. It’s the desire to create that makes an artist go on. It fuels all the other qualities, and the never ending quest for more knowledge and ability. An artist never stops learning and never wants to.

PRACTICE brings our art to new and higher levels. It is the essential “use it or lose it” principle. An artist practices all day, every day, even if it’s simply seeing the world as an artist. Practice develops the vision, the abilities and muscle-memory that make art a natural and intuitive process.

Hi Todd, thoughtful entry. I think the "passion" is a gift... have thought of myself as an artist literally all my life, even though I didn't start painting seriously until my late forties. I have 4 siblings with no interest, and only 1 of my 4 children does any art - he got it too. The more I work, the more attention I pay to it, the better I get, but the passion has always been there.
Andi

ThinkInRainbows
02-23-2004, 08:09 PM
I call myself an artist because, like Rilke, art is all I can think of. I get outta bed and I am thinking of it, I think of it alot durning the day and often think about where I am with it when I am going to sleep. we "are" what we do.

coyote
02-24-2004, 05:57 PM
I think the "passion" is a gift...
The more I work, the more attention I pay to it, the better I get, but the passion has always been there.
Andi

I think you're right. The passion is the driving force, the all important intent that makes one compelled to be an artist in the first place. Without passion one can like art and appreciate it, but not go very far in creating it.

nacho45
02-24-2004, 10:46 PM
Very true points made there. I like what I read. :cool:

Yokovich
02-25-2004, 10:51 PM
very nice article coyote

Eugene Veszely
02-26-2004, 09:52 AM
I call myself an artist because, like Rilke, art is all I can think of. I get outta bed and I am thinking of it, I think of it alot durning the day and often think about where I am with it when I am going to sleep. we "are" what we do.

I am like that too.....but I an reticent to call myself an artist still....

maha
02-26-2004, 01:57 PM
I heard that everyone is born with talent. It is just a matter of choosing to use your talent. However, I think that some people may have a genetic predisposition to artistic tendencies that enable them to realize their "talent". This article pretty much states in words what most artists think and feel everyday. It's good to know that we are not alone in our collective struggle to create. Thanks Coyote.

CarlyHardy
02-26-2004, 09:32 PM
Good reading and excellent points! I hope you will be sharing more of your articles with all of us.

I also use three P's when teaching my drawing classes....

Principles + Practice = Progress

Simple, but it encompasses many things, including the P's above where 'perception' is one of my first principles! Again, thanks for sharing.
carly