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August 24, 2012


I recall hearing that one of the reasons that Da Vinci's 'The Last Supper' is so faded is that people tried to 'repair' the fresco with things like mustard, centuries ago -- and I don't even want to imagine what the acidity of mustard would have done to egg tempera paint on a plaster (alkaline) wall.

I think the lady got possessed by the late Edvard Munch ;-)

Discuss here the biggest artistic screwups you know of, either observed or committed.

I assume you mean unintentional. Otherwise a lot of post-war architecture clearly qualifies ;-) (and most stuff Disney produced after Walt)

People who "can't draw" can be taught. It's a matter of training oneself to see with oe's eyeballs, rather than with one's mental conceptions. My sister, who never did any kid of art, is now an accomplished painter. I'm in awe of her teacher.

Thanks Laura, I'm sure I can be taught to do art. But it would be such a mountain to climb, and that sort of freedom that I imagine people who are good at art have (like my wife, she draws a few lines and suddenly, like magic, it looks like something) would never be there.

Well there's no obligation to want to do it! I just don't buy the mystique. I think it's sad that so many people are separted fromtgheir potential for enjoying some kid of artistic activity by the belief that some people are just born able to do it and others are just not able. There's a similar attitude twoard musical ability, but not as bad. I'm not sayig everyone can be a great artist or great musician. I'm saying that this misooceptin that talent is inborn and one has it or oe doesn't puts limits on people that shouldn't be there. I'm one of those people who was born able to draw well. But I sure as hell can't teach it.

I think art can be taught (or learned) to a degree to and by almost everyone but there are individual limits. I dabbled in a number of art forms but found that I can do some things pretty well but totally fail at others that seem closely related. I am no good with 'organic' forms but have some talent for ornaments. I can compose fugues but fail at free forms (it ends either in chaos or is totally boring). In general I am good at 'strict' art forms that keep me under control. I get the best results when I have to struggle to keep within the set of rules. Occasionally I only started something because of that challenge (Can I write a sonnet with four included random words, one in each stanza in strict Petrarca style? It became 82, although not all with the random word extra).
I know that professional artists can have the same problem of selective talent. Taking a look at historical painting 'factories' one can find that assistants often specialised on certain aspects like hands, clouds, plants etc.

The wonder of any art form to me is the spark that happens when someone takes the craft aspects of the art form and does somethig unique with it. Of course, onece that soethig unique gets understood it can become routine and become another craft. I get bored easily and I like to be out on that edge so I am always changing media. I've spent that last couple of months on llinoleum block monoprints. There's an outlet that sells BIG blocks, really fun to carve, and I have been using acrylics for the printing process which allows for lots of color layering effects in one print. I waste a lot of expensive printing paper since it is hard for me to judge how a print is going to come out, but I've foud that my unsuccessful proofs sometimes can be worked inot collages. Anyway point is there's and underlyig structure to visual art which cn bet taught. there are also skills specific to each media which can be taught and there is basic draftsmanship which can be taught. And then there's playig with all that, making something up. That's not something that can be taught. It's more something that a person needs to give himslef or herself permission to do without fear of failure.

Please be kind. The dear woman was insufficiently cranked to pull off her ultimate opus without a few wayward brushstrokes. I'm not trying to suggest that the restoration conformed to contemporary sensibilities, but would anyone suggest that she fucked up a realistic representation of Christ?

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