Research Assessment 3
Subject: How an artist brings a painting to life
Works Cited (MLA 8 citation[s])
Zinsser, William. "Two men and a portrait: one wondered how an artist brings paint to life. The other showed him." Smithsonian, Apr. 2007, p. 98+. Science In Context. Accessed 22 Sept. 2017.
Finding the right article is difficult; I have been attempting to learn more about painting, but I consistently find articles about artists’ lives, not their paintings. This article, however, was different. It was written to teach me something, not to share a story with me.
The article follows the narrator as he describes his experience of being painted by a cousin. Zinsser describes the long process of painting by sharing what his cousin taught him. The article describes the thought behind each painting the artists makes; it showcases the importance of purpose in art. The painter himself mentions that someone becomes a painter once they know how to paint their thoughts. I have always known that purpose is important, but I had never thought of it as the backbone of a painting. Purpose guides the painter and allows him to focus on what expresses that purpose. Observational details matter little because they do not express anything; it is the painter’s job to find aspects of his or her subject that expresses the purpose of the painting. This is achieved early on through the broad composition that should capture the purpose. Later as the artists begins to finalize and polish his work he must choose whatever details exemplify his goal. By working this way, the artist clearly showcases the meaning behind his work.
This knowledge is invaluable. I have always leaned towards observational painting because it is easier. I have never known how to implement purpose; this article, in a way, details specific steps I should take in order to achieve this goal. I feel as though, with this knowledge, I am able to create better artwork and actually express something through painting, as any painter should. Most of the articles and most artists I have talked to, that mention purpose, always stress the importance of purpose. I am positive I can formulate a plan to use this article as a stepping stone into creating meaning in my work. Admittedly that has been a large goal of mine, so it is reassuring to think that I might actually accomplish it.
Here is my plan: I know my purpose does not have to convey something philosophical or intellectual, but it should portray something with meaning. Once I establish meaning I should think of a way to portray that meaning, be it through form, composition, contrast, or a combination of these and other principles of art. Having a general plan will allow me to focus on one aspect of the painting at a time, which is exactly what I did with my One Hundred Apples without noticing. Focusing on one aspect at a time should make it easier to commit more time into my work; it will also provide me with a better foundation in which to build a more complex painting.
I am honestly surprised by how helpful the article was. It did not teach me revolutionary knowledge, but it made what I already should know clearer to see. The article allowed me to more clearly visualize what I want to create and the process I should go about creating it. I am confident can better my artwork and work ethic not because this article has given me a formula for better artwork, but because it showed me that I have not been as involved with my paintings as I can be. By focusing on smaller, simpler, aspects of the painting I can devote more to it. As I mentioned earlier, it is what I did with my one hundred paintings, and it is what I plan to more actively do in my future projects.