Posts Tagged ‘imagination’

Imagination vs. Technique

May 4, 2013
Vintage Bomber Lure

Vintage Bomber Lure

These students have become masters of the trade of drawing, as some others have become masters of their grammars.  And like so many of the latter, brilliant jugglers of words, having nothing worth while to say, they remain little else than clever jugglers of the brush.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

Our famous American poet Wallace Stevens worked all his adult life in Connecticut for Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company.  One can only imagine how alone he was in his day-to-day work environment.  He called a colleague into his office one day and asked:

“Can you give me your idea of what imagination is”?

His colleague answered: “I don’t have an idea.”

Stevens replied: “Why don’t you think about it a couple of days and come back and we’ll talk about it.”

His colleague, years later, said he was glad the subject was never mentioned again.

For the past few days, I’ve been musing over the “imagination vs. technique” issue in art.  I suppose we all do that, wonder how much of our work is technical proficiency and how much of it really is “art”.  For years I wondered if I was just an illustrator or if I actually could regard myself as an artist.

I’m reading Robert Henri’s The Art Spirit.  I am haunted by this: “An artist who does not use his imagination is a mechanic.”

Recently, in the studio, I am trying to improve mechanics, explore techniques, learn to master a few more tricks.  But all the while I’m pondering that mystery–how does a composition become “art”.  What is it that makes a work of art worth looking at longer than a glance.  I of course don’t have answers for these.  Meanwhile, I just keep playing in the studio, enjoying this enterprise.  I’m glad I got one kicked out of my way already.  Time to move on to the next endeavor.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I am alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.