Thursday Thoughts:

Good art operates on many levels; cerebral, emotional, physical, transcendental, etc. However, I have found that each category of art has a general strength or primary mode of functioning.

1. Music is one of the most emotional art forms. Every chord seems to strum the heart strings and carry the listener along through intangible and undefinable peaks and valleys of emotional experience.

2. Poetry, and by that I mean words used for their own sake as art, is the most cerebral. The language is already known to the reader and they engage with their mind first. Even if their mind takes them almost immediately to a place of emotions and images they are starting with the intellectual structure of words.

3. Visual art is the most immediate art form in the sense that a viewer can take in the gestalt of a piece almost immediately. Even if it takes them hours to notice or discover something their eye can rove the entirety of a picture relatively rapidly. Visual art creates a self contained aesthetic experience that can fully immerse a properly prepared viewer almost at once.

These are certainly generalizations and I have left much unsaid, but what are your thoughts?

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Under the Sun by Landon Brands

From the Artist: This piece, a response to Ecclesiastes 1­-2, was inspired partly by observing my own tendencies to work extremely hard for long periods of time–to excess, some would say. I remember reading this passage on a quiet fishing trip several years ago, and it immediately jumped out at me. Out there, away from cell phone coverage and reminders of work or school, it made sense. Nowhere else in scripture is it so blunt: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the teacher. “Everything is meaningless.” That can be hard to hear when we’ve been told all our lives that work = achievements = position = happiness. (It was tough for me.) While our accomplishments may bear short term rewards, will anyone remember (or care) after our short time on earth is up? With this piece I aim to question the toil-­fueled, achievement-oriented definition of success that is en vogue in Western societies today. I’m not suggesting that accomplishments and work ethic are without value, but we need to stop and think (and consider higher things ­­lasting things) before we pour every drop of our lifeblood into the temporary pursuits of this world.

Courtesy  of the excellent people over at Spark and Echo, a multidiscipline Bible illumination project: http://www.sparkandecho.org/under-the-sun_landon-brands/

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Tower of Babel

Babel. Ink on Watercolor Paper

Babel. Ink on Watercolor Paper

This is a drawing I did several months ago. I was inspired after reading Matt Kish’s illustrated Heart of Darkness to try my hand at a more literal illumination of the Tower of Babel.

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More Vignettes from the Desert

Ink and Graphite on Watercolor Paper

Ink and Graphite on Watercolor Paper

Ink on Watercolor Paper

Ink on Watercolor Paper

Ink on Watercolor Paper

Ink on Watercolor Paper

Ink on Watercolor Paper

Ink on Watercolor Paper

More 5″x11″ experimental studies exploring imagery from the Tower of Babel and Choruses from the “Rock.” See my earlier post for more details.

 

Click on image for a larger view. All images copyright Jacob Rowan 2014

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Nicolaides Quote 7:

“Temperament is merely an incident, just as one banker may be temperamental and another not, while both have the genius for banking. The idea that an artist must be a tragic sort of figure is all wrong. Some artists are like Van Gogh and Gauguin. Some, like Titian and Renoir, are not. Tragedy is caused by a man’s nature and environment and is as irrelevant to painting as it is to other professions. Many young art students react against the prosaic world and feel they must be ‘different.’ They are afraid if they act like other people they will be like other people. The real difference between the artist and the one who is not an artist is not so simple as that.”

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Vignettes from the Desert

Ink on Watercolor Paper

Ink on Watercolor Paper

Ink on Watercolor Paper

Ink on Watercolor Paper

For some time I have been working on a collaboration with a composer to illuminate the Tower of Babel and T.S. Eliot’s Choruses from the “Rock” through art and music. One is the story of man building a city and tower for his own glory and the other is a story of man’s struggle to build the church of God. In my reading and contemplation of these two texts I have become fixated with the image of the desert. The desert left after God dispersed the people of Babel is the same desert we live in today in which some are trying to rebuild Babel and in which others are trying to build the church. As Eliot says “The desert is in the heart of your brother.” These are 5″x11″ experimental studies I have been doing to explore that imagery.

Click on image for a larger view. All images copyright Jacob Rowan 2014

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Nicolaides Quote 6:

“I never concern myself with how much talent my students have. I couldn’t say to anyone in the beginning, ‘you have no talent.’ I believe that nature is lavish with talent just as it is with acorns—but not all acorns become oaks. Talent is something that develops, or appears, as you work.”

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Filed under Art, Quotes