Har­ley Brown’s fas­ci­nat­ing things no one else will tell you

International Artist - - Important Principles Of Art -

We should of­ten draw or paint sub­jects that many would think are rather com­mon­place. What’s im­por­tant is putting our imag­i­na­tion and spirit into our love of art. In other words, through our­selves, we make a to­tally cre­ative work.

This would be like one of the great mo­ments in film his­tory. Sim­ple set­ting: back­seat of a car with Mar­lon Brando and Rod Steiger dis­cussing life. The film: On the Water­front. I saw it in my mid-teens and re­mem­ber every mo­ment. Two men talk­ing. Di­rect, nat­u­ral, mem­o­rable.

Think Whistler’s Mother, De­gas’ Dancer, Van Gogh’s Shoes, Durer’s Young Hare.

Let’s in­clude two works from two dif­fer­ent worlds: Munch’s The Scream and da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Unem­bel­lished mas­ter­works from the artists’ hearts.

Each of us as imag­i­na­tive, in­di­vid­ual artists, can draw or paint any­thing. When it’s from within it’s im­por­tant and that’s why we’re here.

Be­gin in the arts be­comes one of the rea­sons for wak­ing up in the morn­ing and we carry it to bed at night. To me, it is both part of my life and all of my life. Fam­ily and friend and daily rou­tines, some­how all re­flect upon my art. Some­times pe­riph­er­ally and at other times with a mighty and pos­i­tive force. Art is not work. What is art? Art is us.

Find­ing a Rhythm

A cer­tain rhythm hap­pens when I’m get­ting an artis­tic ac­cu­racy at the be­gin­ning of a work. That ac­cu­racy be­comes a fear­less flow. As I’m form­ing the head with fea­tures, my hand might swoop down to par­tially lay in the neck. Even con­tinue into the shoul­der. All these move­ments tie the work to­gether, in­clud­ing marks and daubs in the back­ground. When I’m into a work, there’s a steady rhythm to my ap­proach. It’s hardly ever stop and start. If I’m hes­i­tant, my hand keeps mov­ing, even if lightly. I’m like a con­duc­tor with ada­gios and vi­vaces com­ing and go­ing. Yes, this does hap­pen.

When an art­work is fin­ished, I have an abun­dance of en­ergy and will­ful strength to take on what­ever is wait­ing. Not all prob­lems nec­es­sar­ily solved, yet the spirit re­mains and the day should never end.

Creat­ing a Cen­ter of In­ter­est

Ev­ery­thing in the arts should have a cen­ter of in­ter­est, a rea­son for be­ing. A film’s ba­sic plot, the main melody in a song, the rea­son for a novel, why a work of art was cre­ated. That cen­tered of in­ter­est in a paint­ing might not be ob­vi­ous at first glance. I’ve of­ten thought that cen­ters of in­ter­est in art can also be psy­cho­log­i­cal as well as vis­ual. I’ve never seen Amer­i­can Gothic as just man and woman look­ing at me. De­pend­ing on my day, it al­ways comes across dif­fer­ent. Even Durer’s straight­for­ward Young Hare is seen dis­tinctly by each viewer.

Of­ten when I ob­serve a paint­ing or draw­ing, I don’t look to see if this or that was done “cor­rectly.” What’s more in­ter­est­ing is fig­ur­ing out why the artist painted it. Some­times even the artist isn’t quite sure. Much of the time, I see the artist’s mo­ti­va­tion; even the sense of the artist reach­ing out.

Power of Ob­ser­va­tion

While I was teach­ing work­shops, it was in­ter­est­ing to go around the room and ob­serve the ap­proach of each stu­dent work­ing the same sub­ject. One artist might be cau­tious by us­ing fine strokes, slowly putting in shapes and shad­ows. “Get­ting it right.”

An­other stu­dent’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion could be quite bold, more im­pres­sion­ist strokes. They are not con­cerned about get­ting ev­ery­thing “cor­rect” but want­ing to have the joy of the mo­ment. There would be the other artists in be­tween those two, and in fact all over the place. Each very in­di­vid­ual and very telling.

What I loved about these work­shops was wit­ness­ing the stu­dents find a con­fi­dence. The cau­tious artists might get more ag­gres­sive af­ter a cou­ple of days and bold stu­dents could spend a lit­tle more time, joy­fully con­trol­ling the shapes. Some would go back and forth un­til they found a “com­fort zone.” I can say they were all quite in­di­vid­ual with their art. More so by the day.

In all cases, there was a de­vel­op­ment that grandly in­spired me. The stu­dents

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