Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.
I don’t know about the accuracy of this quote. Tolstoy did write about art and the transmission of Emotion through it but I can’t vouch for the precision of the wording in the widely accepted quote.
But I do heartily agree.
Craftsmanship– handicraft– definitely has a part to play but that alone cannot transport the viewer to that inner spring from which their emotions flow. Something might be beautifully crafted but unless it is constructed from the empathy, the love, the awe, the wonder and the wide assortment of feelings that define tour humanity, it remains just a lovely object. Beautiful but coolly devoid of feeling.
And there is nothing wrong with that.
But the aim of the Artist, at least to my mind, should be to engage the the emotions of the viewer ( or listener or reader, whatever their medium might be) with their own. To create a sort of communion of feeling between the artist and the recipient.
Can this be taught? I don’t know. I try to tell students to read, to look, to listen, to practice a sense of empathy in their daily lives. Widen their view and become a fuller person. I think art comes from an equal blend of one’s handicraft and their sense of humanity.
That’s just my opinion and it may be as flawed an idea as the mind that thinks it. But I can stand behind that thought and hope, in some small way, to achieve that blend in my own work.
The painting at the top is Find Your Light, a 36″ by 36″ canvas, that is a central part of my show, The Rising, at the West End Gallery that ends tomorrow.