Originally Posted by Lynxes123
Thank you so very much for this fantastic tutorial, I read every page and learned so much. And thanks TeAnne for reminding me this valuable tutorial was there for the reading here in WC
I finally read through the whole thing and I think it's awful. I don't think there was one example painting for "better" or "worse", "correct" or "incorrect", "right" or "wrong" for which I agreed with the criticisms. If I have to be tutored in what someone is looking for in an artwork to know whether they're going to think it's "right" or "wrong", I don't think there's something problematic with my viewing/assessment, it seems like there's something wrong with the theory of what is better or worse.
For example, imagine that you're talking to Frank, who is telling you short anecdotes. You think everything is going fine. Frank is a fine conversationalist, in your view, with interesting things to say, etc.
However, I enter the scenario and when Frank says some things, I say, "Wrong", and others, "Right". You start thinking "what the heck?"
So I take you aside and say:
* "It's wrong to say 'the' more than fifteen times during the course of an anecdote, it's better to say it less than ten times."
* "Do not start anecdotes with sentences longer than nine words--it gives the impression that it's going to hinge on alcohol consumption"
* "The 'punch line' of an anecdote should contain proper nouns, or it sounds amateurish"
and so on . . .
Now, is there really something wrong with the way Frank is talking, or is there something very strange about my theory of anecdotes? Suppose that there are a number of people who have been schooled in my theory of anecdotes, and who follow it because they were taught that it was the right way to tell anecdotes, but most people are hardly aware of this, and thought that anecdote-telling was fine if the first sentence was longer than nine words, etc. Does that give my theory of anecdotes more weight? Does it suggest that you should also start believing that there is something wrong with the way Frank is talking?
That's how I see the supposed "rules" of composition. I'm no stranger to art--I've immersed myself in viewing artworks for almost 40 years, even if I've only been creating visual artworks for less than 10 of those years. The supposed problems cited in the article bear no resemblance to anything I've ever thought as a viewer of artworks. I don't see indoctrinating more people into something like the "theory of anecdotes" as a good thing. And if indoctrination isn't needed--if it's naturally the way most people look at art, and there's just something very weird about the way I look at it (although that's difficult to believe, since I have no other acquaintances who look at art that way, at least as far as I know, and it's something I talk to many people about)--then it hardly needs a laundry list of principles behind it. They would be clear by just looking at artworks and thinking about them.
[Added Later:] Or, here's another good example, from a real life experience. I once dated a woman from Laos who, among many other customs/beliefs that seemed a bit strange to me, believed that one should not dry both the top and bottom of their body with the same towel after a shower. To her, it was wrong to do this, and would apparently lead to bad results. Now, I don't know if that is a statistically normal belief for Laotians, or Laotian Buddhists, etc., but I had never thought that it was bad to dry oneself after a shower with just a single towel, and the fact that I discovered someone who believed this didn't lead me to thinking, "Geez, maybe I shouldn't
use just one towel". Instead, I thought, "Geez, that's kinda wacky".
In other words, to repeat an earlier point in this post, if I have to be tutored in what someone else considers right or wrong for some custom, behavior, etc.--something that I've thought was fine for many years and never had a problem with--I don't see it as my problem that I think it's fine, but as a problem with the theory that it's not fine.
To me, the "rules" of art such as presented in this article, and as presented elsewhere (and this doesn't just go for visual art, by the way), are little better than such superstitions/customs, and they're not anything that anyone would pick up on naturally--they're cultural artifacts, of a very narrow culture. They may be interesting as such, in a kind of anthropological study, but I wouldn't recommend joining the cult :-)