Connie made a really insightful comment about art vs. craft (Thanks, Connie -- see Connie's comment on my last post -- also see her wonderful blog at sewforthsewon.blogspot.com) Connie says, in part, that the difference between art and craft is based on intent. To me, this hits the nail on the head. Approaching your work with the intent to convey a message seems to be the most fundamental difference between art and craft. A piece of art speaks to the viewer on some level. The artist's theme, choice of materials, colors, etc. all work toward expressing something they feel some emotion about. Here is a quote that Connie found that says it well:
"Artists who are true to themselves do not make art for the marketplace, but for themselves--to start a dialogue with their viewers, their fans, and the world. They make art because they have something to say that is best said not with words, but through a creative act. They make art because they have to. The marketing stuff can come later. " Alyson Stanfield.
As I see it, the artist has two tasks. First is to find a theme that captivates us. This is pretty much an exercise in being present. Begin to notice what you are drawn to or places/things that hold your interest or if there is something inside you that needs to be expressed. Notice when you feel some emotional reaction to things you see. Keep notes. Take pictures. The second task is to develop a composition around that theme. Learning and applying the art principles and elements will speed the process of developing your piece. You are just tapping into what the brain already knows. I call this the "language of art" -- this is a language any of us can learn.
We will explore both inspiration and composition here. You guys chime in with ways you have found to develop a piece.