Originally posted by Miss Bonnie
Don't some painters just feel design?
Some painters do just feel design. Usually, though, paintings that have been well designed (regardless of whether the design was "planned" or "felt") can be analyzed according to certain principles that can tell you exactly why the composition works.
These principles have been in use for thousands of years and are commonly found in nature as well as in art and architecture.
In music and in writing, there is a distinction between improvisation/freewriting, and composition. Usually, the best improvisors have studied and internalized the principles of composition. The same is true of the visual arts. The more you study design, the better your feel for it will be.
Also, there is a reason it is called "design" and "composition." This implies a process of building, of trying out different solutions to problems.
A lot of artists get really defensive about learning "techniques" of doing things like composition or canons of proportion. They think that learning such things will stifle their creativity. Picasso learned them and knew them well, most of the 1940s and 50s Abstract Expressionists were taught them in school and internalized them as well. Salvador Dali knew them and used them almost as obviously as Da Vinci did. John Coletrane and Charlie Parker knew music theory like the back of their hands. That knowledge and theory stifles creativity is a modern-day myth and should be debunked and discouraged.
The problem is when people think that a work of "art" is validated just because it follows theory. This is just as bad as the novice painter who think they are being creative just because they rely solely on intuition. I've found that much of this work tends to be derivative or naive, and you can read the artist's influences easily.
Sorry for all of the theory and philosophizing,