“….Art cannot be “added” to a useful object, contrary to what Ruskin and his school believed: it is born with it; it is the spirit that animates, or else it does not exist.”
I am in the middle of reading this author’s, Régine Pernoud’s, book, Those Terrible Middle Ages! And, once again, it has brought up the topic of Art; about what it is, and what it is not. So, at the risk of reiteration, I will say a few more words (since last time) on the subject.
When an Artist has succeeded in his method, and has nothing new to discover to complete his project, when his work is a solid answer—leaving neither questions unasked or unanswered—in other words: when one could say—were this any other endeavor— that he has this “down to an art”, it is precisely then that he has, in fact, lost it.
For Art isn’t so much the invention as it is the process of developing that invention; it is a process of learning and adapting. Art asks the questions of how? and why?; and both the questions and the answers can be found within its details. Moreover, Art is moving (or stirring); but not without impedance. Art is flowing; though it does not always need to be graceful. Art is dynamic, organic; Art is alive! It is said that “the state of nature is a constant state of war”. This is true for—as I am so fond of reminding everyone—”if you are not fighting, you are dying”. For this reason, Art will always be diligent, or not at all.
Art also needs a cause. And that cause is the Spirit. If the Spirit is absent, all we have is but a husk; a hollow edifice of potential where life (Art) could have been, yet may never be.
Art can neither be created for its own sake, yet may only be realised in another’s. The most invigorating Art is that which was inspired by another, for another, and freely (without obligation). Such work, created under these circumstances, could easily be misconstrued by others as, in some way, magical, and few would be so inclined to convince them otherwise.
Often I wonder, while drawing (and sometimes even writing) how much I might be imprinting my very thoughts and subconscious into my work, as I can look back at the detail and recall what was going through my mind. It’s sometimes like the lines and strokes are like the etchings in a vinyl record; encoding my thoughts, emotions, my trains of thought into these works; and here I am, giving all of this information freely, and without second thought as to what all of this could mean to another.
At any rate, it’s been a while since I wrote something here. Strangely enough, it’s not that I’ve stopped writing—I haven’t, I mean, I am writing, just not here; Facebook really—I just haven’t had time to devote to the project of jotting down those crucial eight months in the U.S. Air Force that I talked about last time, and so I thought I might wait to post anything until I could. Still it’s been a while, and it’s been getting to me—all this time without a word—so I thought I might share with you this snippet of my life. You know, her book, Miss Régine Pernoud’s Those Terrible Middle Ages!, is actually quite fascinating and insightful, as it aims to challenge still prevalent misconceptions of the Middle Ages, and puts into perspective the stagnant view of the Classical Arts. My father recommended the read, and I am grateful for it. And so, mere three chapters into it, I find myself recommending this book to you, my audience. Check it out. Let me know what you think. Perhaps we can have a discussion over it and—potentially extracting great material for future blogs.
Until next time, breathe deep and seek peace, my friends.
T. S. Vandenberg