What is Art?

Let’s start by asking “What is Art?” On this subject, you will find Art has many definitions in good dictionaries and some at variance with what art actually is. Art is the least understood as a subject than any other human activity probably because there is no clear definition.

The number one definition in an online dictionary gives “The quality, production, expression or realm according to aesthetic principles of what is beautiful…” This is quite a ridiculous definition. Being beautiful or being ugly is purely subjective so that definition can be thrown in the trash can.

If you look at a painting and you like it, doesn’t it say something to you? If you look at another painting and it turns your tummy, it is a feeling, spiritual, physical, or both. Therefore, whatever the painting is like, it will produce a reaction from you the viewer, right?

So now, we can get down to a better definition. The painting is saying something no matter how good it is aesthetically (aesthetics being purely an opinion) and therefore it is communicating to you, good or bad. Art becomes the essence of communication, it is that simple.

All art forms from paintings, drawings, sculpture, theatre, literature, dance or whatever, will say something to you, the audience, even if only a casual glance.

Knowing this, do you have what it takes to be an artist? It is not easy if you are what is termed “an emerging artist” in the art world (emerging from what?)

Whatever art genre the beginner chooses, she must understand that the media used (whatever that may be) communicates also. Example: patina as seen in a copper sculpture (that greenish effect) is vastly different from polished copper, the latter giving off reflected light rather than a dull glow.

Notice in the fashion industry (also an art form) that originality is seldom accepted immediately with the mass market, it takes a celebrity to get the message across. If you are after an immediate impact with your audience, you cannot be too original as this throws out the communication line. You have to tone it down to make it more acceptable and only add a dash of originality.

Too much originality in your paintings will adversely affect your audience. Anything outside of one’s reality level is usually unacceptable as it does not communicate too well, if at all.

A successful artist knows instinctively how to get a message across to his or her intended audience.

Jon is a webmaster for his drawing and sketching website [] A top line resource for basic and intermediate tutorials for emerging artists and people who love to draw. You can learn more about drawing and sketching by signing up for a free monthly newsletter which is loaded with great tips on sketching and drawing –and a free e-book on how to draw.

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