Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Flag That Head

The upcoming June/July edition of International Artist magazine has the latest installment of my masterclass series.

The topic is “Flagging the Head,” a compositional strategy introduced on this blog and in Imaginative Realism.

The magazine feature includes some art and photos not included elsewhere. The issue also contains fascinating features on artist’s studios and on travel sketching on the Arabian peninsula.


Steve said...

Once again -- as so many times in the past -- you seem to be peeking in my studio window. I'm working on a painting for a local publication. It's a view of a single figure striding in front of a mural in downtown Ann Arbor. After reading your post I made sure to position the guy so a plain, white part of the mural is behind his head. Thanks!

Chris Jouan said...

This brings up a question that has been plaguing me lately. I suppose it depends on the painting, but a what point should someone worry that an image may be too contrived? When should an artist be wary of having an image look like an exercise in technique rather than a moment captured? Or am I over-thinking this?

James Gurney said...

Chris, here's my view: All art is a contrivance, and the greatest contrivance of all is to make it appear natural, spontaneous, and unplanned.

In the act of painting, analysis has to be left outside the door, and intuition should guide the hand, but intuition is nothing but conscious understanding made automatic.

The reasons paintings fail in the way you describe, "as an exercise in technique" is that they have no genuinely felt emotion to express. All contrivance and technique should serve that goal and never be an end in itself. I realize all these points are debatable, but that's my sense of it.

Chris Jouan said...

I think I see what you're saying. The learning guides the hand seemingly unconsciously to create what appears effortless. Practice serves to allow our eyes and hands to create freely.

Time for contemplation. Thank You.

Dan Gurney said...

For me, intuition is a preconscious or perhaps subconscious knowing.

I suspect that intuitive knowledge arises from the neurons in the heart. I'm told that the heart has more neurons than muscle cells.

Whether that's true or not, for me, somatically speaking, intuition arises in the heart, and not the head.

Heart-centered neurons account for what you're referring to when you say, "genuinely felt emotion." The work of any master is to have educated the head centered neurons enough to be able to accurately or appropriately respond to the information arising from the heart.