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Exploring Beyond the Edge

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[NOTE: This blog appeared on this website that was lost due to previous web hosting issue. This was recovered from backup files and is included on this newer website version]
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As in all disciplines, art has it's rules. There are rules of best practices to make the work you create last longer and be more likely not to fall apart decades after it was made. There are rules about colors such as which ones are complimentary, double complementary or split complements. Other rules about composition and how to make your picture look balanced and right to the average eye. There are many rules to be aware of although I don't think there are not as many rules as in, say the US tax codes, still there are a lot rules.

Many art rules are helpful, especially ones about the best ways to create archival works, artwork that will endure and stand the test of time. Observing these rules could keep an artist from serious art catastrophes that could happen if the rules were totally ignored. Turn your back on some rules like cheating on your taxes and it's bound to catch up with you in a bad way.

Still I don't view all art rules on an equal plane. Whereas technical practices to create better lasting work are more important to me than those rules that prescribe to you how to create a 'perfect' picture. Most likely turning out a cookie cutter image of myriads of paintings painted before your little treasure. My overall opinion of all the compositionally valued art rules out there is that either following them or breaking them is not going to guarantee you a masterpiece that will show successfully throughout the ages. I believe that it takes something more than being able to follow art rules, as good as they may be, to create superior art.

What then? Must you have the devil-may-care attitude and live your art life as a rebel ignoring all rules set up by those who came before us? Would this be the guarantee of producing great art? I still don't believe that there is any absolute method that will do that. But I think there is a something more that seems essential to me and I am wondering if, perhaps, the one who would be called the rebel may in fact be a seeker. One who is willing to exploring beyond the edge of the mapped and known world. One not interested in the guided tour but who is an explorer who would go to the edge, look beyond and then step over the threshold of convention into unexplored places.

So when artists break the rules I can't say it is always the devil-may-care rebel blindly retaliating against the establishment and their rules or if it is the "I have to know for myself" drive within them that may be that "something more" that makes a successful artist. I think it is the artists way to find out for themselves and to explore without fear of going where it has been forbidden and outlawed by the rebels and icons of the past. Every generation has it's artist rebels who will prod and push the limits to discover what is solid and what is not and in so doing, making everyone else also reconsider for themselves what is important and lasting and what isn't.

As for me, I create from within and go where I am interested to go. So am I a rebel? …who knows?

I am at least an artist.

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