This is not fine art. The White Ibis

June 15, 2013: Last weekend I was out with my cousin. She was flipping through pictures her son had taken when our attention was drawn to a photo of a white ibis. She allowed me to barrow the pictures of it. I have been trying out some oil pastels that I had bought at a garage sale this summer. I set to work and created a reproduction of the bird from a combination of two pictures. Afterwards, I had set it over the fireplace mantel to analyze it, looking for mistakes and doing touch up work. When I walk into the room it catches my eye with all the white space. I did a layering technique to the mulched ground. I was happy with the results. I like the shine and vibrancy of the oil medium. Then I took a picture up close for this post and well, this is not fine art. Huh. This is more like poor art.

I went for a jog after my daughter went to bed. I was contemplating trying new mediums. Then something that I had read recently on MadArtLab came to mind, “we shy away from new things. We fear failure. We disparage mediocrity. We refuse to try. I think that there is value in poor art, more to be learned from hard-earned failure than simple success, and so much to be gained from curiosity that it defies words.”

On foot, I rounded the corner away from my street and rounded another corner onto a bike trail. I was thinking about what is art, specifically. Certainly this Ibis that I had created wasn’t fine art, but then what is. I picked up my pace and jogged past the community garden. There were two men working their plots. One was dressed in a brightly colored shirt and was wearing a straw hat, an outfit may be purchased for just such occasion. He walked the neat rows of his garden plot, careful of the small vegetable shoots. The other man hoed between the rows. A picture of cultivation. They seemed to like just where they were. I jogged on and the gardens gave way to lush green grass. The evening air was coming in big air movements, stifling my jogging efforts. The preserved turf turned to unkempt grasses and wildflowers. I had the compulsion to stop and touch them. I slowed and suddenly everything seemed heavy and mortal and real. It was like I had arrived. This was *fine* to me. Fine art must come from not just technical beauty, but a feeling! I walked a distance enjoying the change in thought and scenery. I managed to the final turn on my trip and ran the rest of the way home.  Here I preset the Ibis.

The White Ibis, oil pastels, Mary Champagne

The White Ibis, done in oil pastels, Mary Champagne


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