Saturday, March 12, 2011

Through a Glass Darkly

Since I am away from home, I want to cover a few topics which mean a lot to me.
My original topic was to talk about samples.  My sample folio is a large art folio, where I keep my samples from experiments and preliminary work.

My DH asked me the other day when I was going to do some work, and when I showed the days samples, he said, "I mean art - real work".  I started thinking about this and tried to explain to him why this work was important and in doing so, realised that this was something I needed to talk about.

I spend a lot of time experimenting and working on new techniques, and it is very important because it is what creates depth and meaning.  It is like a decorator's sample book or a painter's colour card, it is where I go to find colours and textures that I want to create in my work, or to find something I might tweak to make the right addition to a work.  If I had not personally done these samples, and had them under my belt, then my repertoire would be very limited.  Indeed, the reason I moved on from quilting is that my repertoire was becoming so wide that I needed a new canvas to work on - Fibre Art.  So, more than just a book to show off or as proof of qualifications, a folio is a working journal of sorts that provides a huge amount of resources in creative work.

On my Drive today, I was listening to Artistically speaking Radio, which FAMM radio have merged with.  The episode I have been listening to was the 13th Jan episode where Rebecca Parsons herself is interviewed.  This was really interesting and inspirational. After that interview, they interviewed another artist, called Deborah Dissman  who talked about something called Synesthesia, which she defined as the feelings and senses we associate with colours.  See articles here and here.  For example Blue feels light and cool, whilst red may feel dark and heavy.  It struck me that we need this information in creating, rather than simply the colour wheel.  We need to understand how colours and textures evoke senses in order to create meaningful pieces of art. 
Smell, taste, weight, touch, sound, volume, temp, all are associated with colours in our brain.  We actually use sayings such as  "loud" colours or hot, cool, heavy, yummy, sweet as adjectives to describe colour.

I want to mention an addition I am going to make to my sample folio.  In addition, to the notes I write on materials, and techniques and tools, I think a really useful addition would be some adjectives in the sense of synesthesia.
I will use one of my recent samples to illustrate this,
In this sample, for instance, I might come up with things like:
  • Smell - fresh, light
  • taste - crisp, crunchy, watery
  • weight - light
  • touch - rough
  • sound - windy, rustling
  • volume -airy, Density - light
  • temperature - cool
  • emotion - calm, creative
 It provides a lot of information about what we are putting into our piece of work.

Much of this information is already in our brains and as artists use it without knowing, when we critique our work and others'.  But I believe that making it more concrete instead of one of the mysteries of creativity  can only assist us in our work.  I have spent a lot of time thinking about aspects of art and creativity that we internalise and at times do not understand.  By bringing them out and making them concrete, we can understand our work and how it relates to others much more clearly.
This is just one more tool, to use and to learn to use.

I hope I haven't bored you too much and I hope I have inspired you to look at practice and sample work in a new light - as building blocks to a deeper creativity.