Art Unboxed

Art Unboxed What’s In Your Songbook?

No, i don’t have my genres mixed up, lol. It was the best way to introduce an idea I learned from the musicians in my life. I have no ear for music, a singing voice that might best be compared to a weak fog horn, and the same association with musical ability as I do ancient Etruscan pottery. In spite of all this, I have learned many lessons from those in my life blessed with this gift.

If you ask someone who is musically talented, and who has some experience to sing, they can very quickly be ready. They have practiced enough to be able to, have the experience to draw on, and either a physical or mental songbook to draw from. Artists can apply these same lessons to our art.

Last night, I drew a lion, a tiger, and the tin man from The Wizard Of Oz. While I did draw from reference, I also drew from experience. Each of these I’ve drawn multiple times. Some nights I have a plan in mind for what to draw, but not last night. I ran across an image of a tiger, so I drew it. From then mentally I made the jump to a lion, and then to the tin man. Because I had practiced them previously, it was easy to do so.

As someone in Children’s Ministry I’ve used drawing in many lessons through the years. I’ve been able, sometimes at short notice due to an emergency, to put together a lesson using art as the object lesson. Experience with drawing and with children allowed me to gage what items would work.

You might say I took a few pieces from my artistic songbook and played them. As I’ve watched a number of artists give lessons, often they paint a painting they’ve previously painted. Many times it’s because they are covering a specific subject, such as color harmony, or composition.

As an artist, you not only have the ability to draw, you have skills and experience to draw from. This makes you a better artist, and a better teacher. You have learned something that is shareable with others, that can benefit them. You’ve learned lessons from picking up a pencil, paint brush, or pastel that may help someone else in their artistic journey.

When you are invited to share something artistically with someone, I would suggest you approach it much as a singer or musician would. Think of the pieces, or images you do well. Think of items that others would find interesting. Finally thing of images that will lend themselves to adding benefit to others.

You may find that they begin to pick up the “song and sing along with you”. I’m sure that a young Frank Sinatra, who also painted, heard a number of singers as a young man that we may have forgotten, but he learned something from them. That means that their lesson wasn’t lost, it was passed on, and continues today.

If we as artists can do the same thing, we impart something very special to others. I’ve mentioned it before, but I was affected by things my Great Grandmother, whom I never met, drew. My experience with art, is due enlarge part to her, my Grandmother, my Mother, and Sis Gloria Livingston. I hope one day that someone can say the same about me.

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