All Images and Text Copyright 2007, John Ayes
An artist is a person who has worked hard upon changing several aspects within their way of perceiving the world. They have trained their perceptive abilities to observe objects differently from a person who hasn't to the point of an obsessive preoccupation.
Everywhere and artist looks they see a potential for art. A heightened eye sense awareness of what's going on around them is honed to a focal point sharpness so that the potential for art as well as the opportunity for creating something of visual value is never lost.
Along with observation and heightened eye-brain sense the artist cultivates an attunement to positive possibilities within any given moment within their lives and the artist is forever striving to have many different points of focus so they can see the macro as well as the potential for art within the micro parts of their environment. For the artist eyes beauty is everywhere waiting for acknowledgement and proper recognition.
Life for the artist is a moving meditiation. The mechanical click of a camera shutter or the soft swish of the painter's brush upon canvas are all part of the mantra of the moving meditation that frees the senses for transcribing what they are experiencing. Yet, like Arjuna of old the artist is in perfect control of those senses so what first began as a transient inspiration evolves into a concrete ideation that in the end everyone can perceive and understand.
Surprisingly art is not all about the artist. It is actually about the work that has been produced. The method - the process are just the means and the path toward images that are somewhat masterful and move the viewers into a specific mind space. For the master of an art techniques have become superfluous because they have become part of the process - a matter of habit.
Leonardo Davinci's journals are but a reflection of his observations of what was going on within the environment around him. None of his writings contain one word pertaining to technique. Perhaps its because his techniques arose out of his observations of nature. It stands to reason, therefore, that when one is observing the true and the real the art transcends and becomes hyper realistic - hyper visualistic.
A lot of people tend to stop themselves from photographing subjects that have been explored by others. Perhaps they don't realize that every photo ever taken by photographers of a particular subject are individual expressions - views of the same subject . Each image reflects the person who captured it. Like a fingerprint each image is a unique and different interpretation from the others.
Encyclopedias have been written about what attracts the viewer of an artwork. Some of that advice can sometimes lead to contrived works. The best advice I can give you is to forget what you might have read and work toward being a little more sincere about how you go about creating your art. Yes, some viewers of art are looking for some mastery of the medium but others are looking for a specific charge that leads them to connect with the artist in a very personal way that is almost beyond written and verbal description. Something mysterious and wonderful happens when the patron comes into contact with a masterwork. A common ground of understanding and knowing has been entered by the artist and art patron without a word having been spoken between them. In Zen its called, the silent transmission of wisdom.
Something clicks within the mind of the viewer of the work that strikes a deeper chord that elicits and excites a profound feeling of awe that transfixes the viewer's gaze and full attention upon the image. This feeling and the experience has to be satisfied by a complete saturation of the image within the viewer's brain by way of their eyes. The experience then transposes itself into an emotion. If we the artists witness this silent transmission of wisdom know that your work was indeed a masterful one.
In order for the work to facilitate this phenomenon for the viewer the creator of the work must have strived to achieve what is called a breakthrough in their work. Throughout an artist's career there are many breakthrough happenings.
What is a breakthrough?
A simple example of when a breakthrough happens is during the painting of, let's say,a fruit. The painter struggles with the medium to create a realistic looking avocado. The amateur's work is flat with a minimum of time and effort put into the painting. On the otherhand, the intermediate painter strives to replicate the bumpy texture that is the avocado's skin. A problem arises within how that bumpy surface reflects the light. Instead of using long strokes to depict the light the artist discovers and uses points or dabs of medium to depict the light reflecting off the avocado. The resultant finished work is a masterful one. The artist has crossed over the threshold of the breakthrough because now their translation of the avocado looks photo realistic! There is a feeling of extreme joy and bliss that comes from the breakthrough. That too is beyond the written and spoken word because a great wisdom has been discovered and finally activated within the artist.
Within photography the process is exactly the same. The artist discoveres a subject that has a lot of potential. The camera has been preset to the correct settings - the lighting around the subject is above optimal. The photographer composes the shot just right before hand. The picture is taken. The results reveal that this one photo contains the sum total of what is called, the perfect shot. The photographer is elated! Blissful joy permiates and radiates through the artist.
Somehow - beyond explanation the images that the painter and photographer have created transmit the feelings of the breakthrough to the viewer.
The image is as close to reality and perfection as we can get it. Photographers and painters are hyper realists always striving to create an illusion of dimensionality and realism within the limitations of two dimensions. We struggle to create perspective and depth using all we have learned from our observations. In essence we work within the confines of light.
If one looks and thinks about the equiptment we have been using to take our photographs we discover that what we have been using all along is a hyper visualized version of the old camera obscura. Granted the devices we are using have come a long way since the first models were invented during the late 1400's, but they are still little boxes with lenses attached that capture the light that an image is refracting and reflecting. As our view of the world became more complex and demanding the camera obscura evolved with that view to what it has become today. To understand photography one should devote some time to the study of the science of light and the study of lenses as well as the study of computers and the software and hardware that drives them. Without those studies we might as well be taking our photographs with an old box camera.
So, you've gone out and bought yourself an expensive gizmo and computer with a very high resolution HD monitor and you discover to your dissapointment that your photos still haven't improved. And you've been thinking about what other gizmo you can buy that will boost your painting and photographic skills...I hate to dissapoint you because nothing in the whole world can ever replace the disciplined and well trained human sense of creativity and imagination.
The true role of the photographer and painter is when we go out with our equiptment into nature we are recording for posterity what may not be here on the morrow in light of what may be an environmental crisis.
When I first moved to Florida back in 1998 there used to be a lot of jungle here. Trees, possums, amadillo, racoons, snakes and toads running about. Since then those patches of jungles have been clear cut and strip malls, parking lots and housing developments have taken their place. With the jungle's passing the wild life abd birds of prey have gone as well. The wild hawks I have recorded pearched upon lamp posts are a sorry statement and a fitting example of what I am describing here. I am hoping perhaps someone will notice that something is terribly wrong out here. I am also hoping that other photographers and artists follow suit to follow my example to include views of nature within their ouvre.
I also feel that we are fulfilling another purpose and our position as artists here within this time period is an important one. When one looks at the circumstances globally this is what is realized. We are also transcribing our greatest resource for people who have become homebound and city bound because they have no means to venture out into nature. For some the only means of getting out into the wilderness is by way of their computers. Each time we transmit an image of a flower or a landscape via the Internet I sense that we are preserving and sharing what is truely beautiful as well as empowering someone we don't even know. We are giving them a chance to enjoy and cherish what we have recorded with our cameras. With all the aforementioned in mind I think we will be open to taking better photographs in the future.
Begin thinking about what is called transformative art. This type of imagery seeks out colors that are uplifting and elicits feeling that are positive. Choose shapes and subjects that are comforting. Biomorphic shapes are more comforting than hard geometric forms.
Who knows, you might just impact how and what everyone is feeling today.
Notes on the paintings:
Le Sommiel, Sleep.
The Duchess of Alba and Mona Lisa Revisited in the New Millenium.
Ayes Hyper Visualization of Vermeer's Girl. Created for the Orlando Museum of Art's First Thursday's art competition, My Favorite Master - Won Best of Show September 1995
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