Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Today I found out I'm a...

..pictorialist and would, if the group still existed, be a bit of a photo-secessionist, too.

Not in the sense of emulating painting or etching, but more like one step removed from this - emulating what painters and etchers are trying to emulate in their chosen visual medium (as do sculptors, potters and other artisans...).

When we see a scene, as well as taking everything else in, we are seeing arrangements of line and pattern, shade and tone. The way our eye and mind "sees" these arrangements, tweaks various parts of our visual senses - some responses are hard-wired in us; most are deeper, connecting with our experiences and there's a whole lot of responses in-between.

I think artists use this knowledge of the more hard-wired visual responses to these arrangements as one of the assisting fundamentals in their artistic expression. Whether learned or simply just understood at a subconscious level, the more successful ones use it to their advantage - just look at their work.

I think that's what I mean about being a pictorialist - the great artists of the past and present were all doing this - and it's that that I'm trying to emulate.

For a learner like me, though, I need to work in black and white / monochrome as it takes away all the distracting complexities of colour. This helps me to focus on the relationships and arrangements between line and light, texture and tone, pattern and perspective, structure and abstraction.

Maybe as this becomes more like second nature I'll turn to colour much more often... but not for now :)

Not sure if I've expressed this very well, but there you go...
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