It’s the act of putting together a series of discrete elements that come to meet a larger picture.
The way art critic Kenneth Goldsmith defines this is by saying an “idea is an idea that has some degree of possibility of realization”; which makes an idea “an image given a form, which in turn is an expression of the idea.”
The first step in making a picture is to decide what the picture should be about. This is not necessarily an easy decision. You do not have to decide whether a picture is a picture, but if you want it to have the quality of a painter that I would like it to have, you should make it be one—and not just for your own benefit, but that of others as well.
Consider some examples of what I consider to be the most significant of these:
1. The Statue of Liberty, New York. At first glance, there is nothing wrong with this statue. There are not bad things about it; it is beautiful, and even the most unsophisticated person can appreciate the sentiment behind its sculpture. But in the world of art you do not, and should not, judge an artwork by how it looks.
2. Alice, Alice in Wonderland. There are plenty of people who consider this book to be a masterpiece of literary art because of its ability to elicit the most passionate imagination with which one can imagine such a world.
3. A child, at play. There are also countless children who want to draw something like this, and many of these drawings get produced with great skill, which is not to say that the quality of the result is necessarily high, because that is not what is important.
4. The Statue of Liberty, Paris. But this picture is more complex than what appears to be a single figure in a series. The sculptor had a group of sculptures and they seemed to work very well together.
5. A painting, by Rembrandt, showing Jesus. There were many variations on this theme, and one of the more prominent was the “Jesus Christ Superstar,” but you need to make the judgment call as to what your artistic vision is based on.
There are very few cases in art of which I know that a judgment has been made to show that an artist’s drawing is superior to others, unless the artists had a very close working relationship. For those with whom the artist has a close working relationship, I would consider it superior because it is easier to work
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