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Article Teaser: Are you hung up on real vs abstract? If this false concept raises goose bumps, see what the Skin Horse knows that might help, in this article.

Keep reading below...

'Getting Real'

Copyright (c) 2007-2017

"What is REAL?" asked the Velveteen Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick out handle?"

There is a hugely crippling concept of art lurking about that art is either realistic or abstract. This red herring divides two camps in mutual distrust, and diverts a heck of a lot of creative energy away from where it wants to go.

If a picture of a flower is realistic, then it's fake isn't it? Everybody knows it's paint on canvas, or similar. Everybody knows it's two dimensional posing as three. Then, if the purpose is to "look just like a flower", what's it for? Is it to make the artist feel she has "created" a flower, like God? Is it to cause viewers to say: "Oh, you've captured the flower," like capturing a giraffe for the zoo?

The original definition of abstract art was that it must not represent anything natural; no organic forms. Even so, an abstract painting does represent something. If it has a title or not, it was produced from the hand and heart of an artist, who chose the colours, the composition, the feeling inherent in the work. It represents a subject important enough to the artist that he made it, and couldn't help but transmit his inner meanings into the paint.

Even elephants make paintings. . . that sell! Are they abstract or realistic?

*** "Real isn't how you're made," said the Skin Horse. "It's something that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

Effective abstracts aren't so much abstract as original. A couple of artist friends have told me in a private moment, that they only paint abstracts because they can't draw anything that looks real. Yet some of their "abstracts" do conjure up realistic things, evoke real feelings.

Effective realistic work expresses profound and real meanings too. Some artists paint realistic works that don't look at all real, because their purposes are shallow. Look at the finest realistic art, by a grand master, and you'll see there's a lot of abstraction there. They are two dimensional canvases suggesting a four dimensional subject --- height + width + depth + time. A Cezanne apple is not a real apple, but a grand abstraction.

All art is abstract.
All art is realistic.

Whether a work is made in its visual exactness or its symbolic equivalent, it involves an elaborate sequence of operations to manifest --- conception, incubating, hatching, nurturing, taking flight.

Realistic art doesn't begin with an object, say a tree. It begins with an artist's fascination with a tree. Its goal is not to recreate the tree, but to portray a concept, perhaps fascination, or a symbolic gesture, with tree as the metaphor. The things that move people have no single physical embodiment, but they impart to physical things the qualities of meaning that move us.

*** "Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit. "Somethimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are REAL you don't mind being hurt."

Sometimes the discovery of what happens to us as we encounter the world can be painful. Yet, it is the active searching for what things do mean to us that gives any art that deserves a second glance its fresh, newborn look. Whether figuratively or abstractly portrayed, art shows the act of a person just uncovering something of great personal importance.

Want to give it a try yourself? Take out something you've made earlier, and instead of looking to see how materially realistic (or not) the images are, see it from your heart. Remain curious and focus on any unresolved area, which you don't understand. Let your eyes go "soft focus" without trying to understand it. Does it remind you of anything in your life, either pleasant or uncomfortable? Something was transmitted, by you, that wants to be recognized.

Sometimes this can sting. "Mistakes" are only deemed so by your consent. Bothersome passages could also be seen as blessings in disguise. (The French word for "wound" is "blesser".) Discovering something unexpected, revealing an emotionally charged issue, can be like tearing off a bandaid to reveal an old wound to the air --- surprising, yet necessary for full healing. If you can't feel it, how will you know when it has healed?

*** "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

Let's expose our old wounds to the light of day, when we're ready, over and over again, until they are healed. Let us redirect the energy spent on categorizing ourselves. Using art as a healing process, we are seeking the light, greater clarity, expanding our consciousness, growing deeper into new meanings of our presence in the world. Let's take the risk of "getting real", more authentically us. Any shabbiness we develop along the way is just beautiful badges of experience, uniquely ours.

*** from "The Velveteen Rabbit", by Margery Williams


About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
Hello, I'm Celeste Varley and have been an artist at heart all my life. It is my privilege and passion to help seekers awaken the Creator within. If you like this article, you may want to see more "Fresh Horses" articles on my website. Check it out and see if it's right for you. http://www.heartsongstudio.com Celeste Varley, Heartsong Studio, Awakening the Creator within.

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The Museum of Modern Art in NY held an exhibit featuring a painting by Renoir. About 140,000 viewers came to admire this work. They all saw the sky, the sea, and the sailboat. But, not one of the 140,000 viewers noticed that the painting was hung upside down. Why not? Because we see what we expect to see. Now I don't know if this story is actually true. I heard it on a TV courtroom drama, but it certainly illustrates a truism. See how clear your vision really is in this article.

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Written by: Nicole Maschwitz | Distributed: 2008-05-06 | Word Count: 419 | Page Views: 2467 | Votes: 12 | Rating: 2.33
Lets face it, times have changed long gone are the days of knitting and crocheting. Lets admit it now with the introduction of computers and X box, the next generation is more interested in helping Scratch from Ice Age rather than doing embroidery. In addition, with mass production of goods from China and other countries, unique is becoming more rare.

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Internal ID: #4862
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Total Views: 2837

Article Rating: 1.70 of 5
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