Why Study Visual Art?
Adults need to connect with others, to develop satisfying relationships, and through the arts in a social setting such as in a visual arts class, a special bond can develop. It is people who are doing and creating together, not necessarily all doing the same thing, but all involved in the communal activity of making something new. It is not only new for the viewers, but it is even new, serendipitous and often surprising for the creators.
Making art allows the individual to express emotions, not only with language, through symbolic displays of their responses to their world. It becomes another language, a rich and useful language that is being learned. It is an enhancement to living fully by helping people understand life and respond to issues in a fresh way. The quality of life is richer because there is more attention to the beauties of the world. This includes the blending and seeing of colour, form, value, line, pattern, texture, detail and so much more and in such diverse combinations and manifestations.
There is a myth that surrounds the visual arts. Stories abound of people “not being able to draw a straight line” or “only being able to draw stick people.” There are no straight lines in nature, unless they are accidental, and stick people have a place in this universe. Art has room in it for all kinds of expression. The distance between being able to create and not depends on what learning is desired, the instructor’s ability to pass on ways of working in the visual arts, exposure to the art of others, a looking at the world around us, and a honing of skills which definitely can be taught and most importantly, to be learned.
Yes, there are artists acknowledged as geniuses, but they too, had to at some point start with a first painting. Skill in art builds on skill, and time, and the doing. One way of enjoying art is in the enjoyment inherent in the making of art, in the process of creating art. There is, of course, a further enjoyment in the looking at and the analyzing of the creative expression of other artists, seeing it as a ribbon of visual history, a connection to and the study of cultures. It allows the brain to sing and dance, swirl around in joyous abandon and to release the stranglehold of propriety that adulthood may impose. It gives imagination wings and encourages it to soar to unknown and delightful heights.
Is art not a wonderful way to communicate? It offers an opportunity for multicultural communities to interact, for those without verbal language for any number of reasons, a way to reach out, to express joys and sorrows. It allows ways to access new strengths and new skills and to seek enrichment for the soul because there is never any end to ways of working in the visual arts, no end to the learning that can transpire, other ways to see the same thing, no end to the seeking and yearning and looking and fulfillment. How beautiful is that? There is no end because the visual arts are always the beginning.