Our day started with “a prayer for class” with the following quote by Dr. Robert Foote (a San Francisco Theological Seminary professor): “Bless this day, each and every one, with the virtues of learning – openness to what is challenging or unfamiliar, courage to leave the security of already knowing, honesty to know ourselves and to be ourselves in all, patience with the hard road of learning, humility to resist the snares of pride in what is known and what is not, and a sense of humor to acknowledge the follies of ignorance and of erudition and to welcome the strangeness of other worlds and peoples – that we may grow in conception and insight, with goals of love and justice ever before us.”
My largest desire in coming other than to be generally inspired and have the luxury of time to paint, was to get some criteria with which to evaluate abstract art. I wanted to be able to judge if a painting had merit or not. On page 8 of our printed syllabus, I found this spelled out by our teacher, Glenn Felch. He says a painting is successful to the degree that the ten criteria listed below are met. A painting could work with all five subjective criteria and none of the objective criteria met, but without any of the subjective criteria and all of the objective criteria met, it would fail.
- presence of conscious shape unity (congruent or contrastive)
- presence of a unifying motif
- presence of a unifying, purposeful value system
- presence of nourishing nuances
- presence of color consciousness
- does it capture our attention, appeal to our look again instinct?
- does it radiate a mood, feeling, attitude, poetic flavor?
- does it reveal sensitivity for the medium?
- does it offer some mystery, something beyond just the obvious?
- does it radiate “one of a kind” instead of “mass production” quality?
Again we spent the morning on small, quick works and the afternoon on one big one. I really liked my small spontaneous ones below. The large (22” x 30”) vibrant one above took much time and effort. All those that commented on it used musical terms, like melodious, harmonic, “it sings” or said it reminded them of a calliope. Everything I painted today was unlike anything I had ever done before.
Our studio space was serenaded by loons and also visited by brilliant late afternoon light with tumultuous clouds.