One of my first year professors said to us once as a class that there are two kinds of artists: planners and feelers. (Just bear with me here) Feelers tend to feel their way through something, and planners tend to have a more direct plan for how they are going to get somewhere. I am a feeler, its a long process sometimes to get to where I want to be. Sometimes I don’t even know where I’m going. I might have a visual of something I want in my mind, but am unhappy with how it turns out leading me to pivot my perspective. Today was a good example. I recently found out that we have about 40 horses that have been moved to a few fields in back of our house. I have been unable to go out there for various reasons; weather, baby, time, etc. I finally went out today with my camera with the intention to photograph them. The light was not that great, the wind was bitter cold, and I’m not used to photographing moving, living subjects. (My main area of focus is landscape close-ups.) However, I began my process of photographing, zooming in where I could, getting different angles with horses that are a bit skittish at having someone invade their territory, while also watching for my own safety. Something isn’t working, it isn’t clicking right. Some of these images are beautiful, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with beautiful images. However, my aim is not for beautiful images, its for a different perspective, I want to see and show you something you didn't know, something you wouldn't see, thats where the real beauty is for me. Anyone can take a great picture of a horse, because horses are great subject matter. It takes an artist to show you what a horse is. I push on, following them as I can. I crouch down at one point so that I can hopefully get a different angle. All of a sudden the horses are curious and crowd around me. I see them in that way that I want. I see the light hitting their long, shaggy fur that’s built up from days of cold, days of rain and sleet. It ripples in the wind, but they aren’t fazed by the bitter cold. That’s it, that’s the image I want. The fur in the wind. The texture and kink in the tail, and the swirls as the fur wraps around their bodies. Instead of complaining about the conditions which are not ideal, making the conditions work for me. Pivoting from my original idea, which was barely formed anyway, seeing instead where the process takes me. If you’re more of a planner, I encourage you to let a little more process and feeling come into your work, you may be surprised at what you get.
Oh hello, welcome to my blog, hacking a BFA. Is it an academic blog or is it just an art blog? I don't really know. Some of this might be relevant to art students only, some of it relevant to art amateurs......does it really matter? I invite you to treat this blog as an art buffet. If you want something more in depth...its here, something more geared to art newbies....it's here. Enjoy!
Melissa Cayford is an artist, designer and educator bent on making art and art education more accessible.