Posts Tagged ‘art’

Surely my previous post about my dog gave you a pretty good idea of Meeshka’s outstanding intelligence (by doggy standards of course.) Today I got another proof that not only is he smart, but can also appreciate art. Well, maybe.

About seven years ago, when I experimented with acrylic paints, I painted a portrait of the Buddha seated in a lotus position, meditating. The painting is nothing to brag about, but I keep it, hoping that some day I’ll be able to turn it into something more spectacular — that is, when I master traditional painting media.

Last week my husband dug out the Buddha painting, along with several of my landscapes and floral themes, and put it in the basement, positioning it so it can be easily viewed by anyone entering the room. My husband also told me that when Meeshka saw the painting the first time, he barked at it, likely alerting him that there was a stranger in the house. My husband thought I should take it as a compliment.

Today, when I was doing laundry, Meeshka followed me downstairs, as he usually does, to make sure all is well in that part of the house. While I was loading the washer, Meeshka kept barking in the room where the paintings are. At first I thought he was barking at the cat, but when I came out of the laundry room, I realized it was actually the Buddha’s portrait that stirred my doggy up. I asked him to shut up, which he did. Then he turned his gaze back to the Buddha painting and stared at it for a good couple of minutes, until he heard me get closer. Then he turned his head toward me with an embarrassed look, as if I caught him stealing socks or underwear from a laundry hamper. This curious occurrence made me wonder, what does my dog see in this painting? By the way, my other dog, Maya, has no interest whatsoever in any of my art pieces. 🙂

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A while back, I took a drawing class. Our instructor, an accomplished artist with years of experience under his belt, began our first class with a story about an experiment. Two groups of art students were given two different assignments. The first group was asked to produce as many drawings as they possibly could within a couple of weeks. The second group was tasked with producing one high quality piece within the same time frame. At the end of the two weeks, the students submitted their work for evaluation. Guess who generated better quality and more original art? If you think it was the second group, who was focusing on quality, think again. It was actually the quantity-oriented group who ended up with most original ideas and better quality art.

The simple truth of the story is not as obvious as it may seem at the first glance. How often do we hear from teachers or experts in a given field about focusing on quality, and not on quantity? Could they be wrong? I don’t mean to say that quality should not be considered at all. I am saying if you set out to create no less than a masterpiece, you will likely end up with a heartache. On the other hand, generating in great numbers material that bears no mark of intelligent thought is never a good way to channel anyone’s creativity.

My point? The dividing line between quality and quantity exists only if we believe these are two separate, unrelated concepts. In reality, however, they are inseparable. It’s like mining through tones of ore to get a few ounces of silver or gold. The bigger quantities of ore you mine, the better quality of precious metal you get. So, I tell myself: no matter how little gold shows up, keep mining, because if you don’t, you may never discover what rich deposits of precious creativity you’ve been sitting on all your life.

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