another page from
A Creative Hand/Book
by Aisling D'Art

Left page: a hand printed on a photo of a colorful luncheon table.  There is a lemon pudding in yellow cups, and a sandwich with tomato on a rich slice of whole wheat bread, atop a 1940's turquoise table.

Right page:  "Do not expect the pictures to say the expected; some of the best will have surprises for you, which will, at first, shock you."  --Robert Henri, in The Art Spirit


The book I quote was compiled of class notes and essays by artist Robert Henri.  Although this quotation was directed at artists about their own work, it applies to anyone viewing art as well.

Sometimes, we are shocked, startled, or even offended by what some people call "art" and seem to sell with success.  

Rather than mutter, "Some people will buy anything," perhaps it's wise to re-examine the work which shocks us.  Perhaps there is something to learn from it.

For years, I didn't like abstract art.  That was partly because I didn't understand it.  Then one of my art teachers explained that, if I study what my eye does when confronted with a good abstract piece, I might learn something.

I did.  Good abstract art keeps my eye interested and moving.  My vision never rests complacently on one area of the work.  

I learned to appreciate abstract art, for this and several other reasons.  But it was necessary for me to learn something new about art and myself, before I could enjoy the work.

Everyone does not have to agree with me on this point.  However, I use it to illustrate the importance of keeping an open mind, and finding ways to learn from art... even when it shocks us.


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full list of quotations


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All original text, photos, and art are 2000, Aisling D'Art.