I was an art major in college. And when I finally staggered away from 5 years of studio classes, I realized that I had learned only one thing. Frame your pictures. There is art in composition you know, and choosing your subjects falls under the comforting category of Artistic License.
Frame your pictures. Master the margin. My habit of filling an entire slice of 18" x 24" Strathmore with drawings of the most painful detail must have hurt my teacher as much as cutting his nails to the quick.
However, I've suddenly realized that I knew this lesson all along, and that I still use it now.
When I was small, and likely to exhaust myself wishing things true, the bed in my room was near a window. Because of my size and the bed's distance from the sill, whenever I looked through that window, all I could see were the tops of the bushes separating our driveway from the neighbor's house and the sky. Foilage and sky were so perfectly framed that I could imagine myself…anywhere. I could be staring at the brush dissolving towards the sea, or growing into a forest, or marching in perfectly manicured formation towards a castle, or a grand country house. I could be anywhere.
And yesterday, when walking home, I found not an example of a lesson anticipated, but of one learned. Crossing the street, I was conscious of a gleam in the sky (it was almost 7PM). I looked down that street as it disintegrated into the distance, and saw a glorious sunset. Bronze and silver, it must have looked like an alchemist's pot as he searched and stirred for gold.
Now, the trees, growing dark in the setting sun, provided a beautiful framework for this fiery painting. However, when I drew back and observed the wider spectrum of my surroundings – the houses, the cars, the patchwork street and potholds – that splendid glow of sunlight seemed to fade amongst the detrius of the city.
So what does this all mean? Does art imitate life? Did life know about art all along? Does it mean that art is everywhere, begging to be noticed? Or does it just mean that I spend too much time standing in the middle of the street?