Chupacabra, It's true that I haven't demonstrated an ability to paint as well as many of the professional artists on this forum, but that's irrelevant to my ability to see and recognize beauty. I can usually tell if something's worth looking at quite quickly. Does it make my heart beat faster, or bring a sigh of awe, or a flash of recognition? The old masters don't do that for me. Stuff like the concept work for Tabula Rasa does.
nicolas, I'm speaking my truth, offering suggestions about how people may improve (from my perspective) their art appreciation, and pointing out that the emperor still has no clothes. Sure, I come across as arrogant to those who perceive things differently from the way I do, but this is art we're talking about, not rocket science, so I'm not really worried about embarrassing myself. My intention is not to be a troll. But it's Main Loop's thread, so if he is getting tired of the discussion I may bow out.
Poshspice, Sure there's more than rendering and detail. There's light/shadow, color, perspective, composition, and other elements. I guess one has to achieve a certain proficiency with several of those to become a master. Mastery of rendering and detail may not constitute the pinnacle of artistic achievement, but they certainly make a painting much more worth looking at if they are done right.
Jalc, Fair enough. I'm just trying to free people's minds from what they were taught in art school about reverence for the old masters. Perhaps that makes me seem intolerant, but I want people to look at art through their own eyes, and I'm not sure that they do. I always go back to when I was about seven or eight years old and my parents took me into a comic book store for the first time. My artistic "taste" was pure then, and whatever preferences I had at that point were pretty much innate. Since that time, I've tried to remain true to the sense of what constituted beauty and what inspired wonder that I had then, even while I've looked at untold numbers of paintings and images since then.
Certainly, Picasso and Dali contributed to our collective cultural history, and perhaps even to the art that really matters today (particularly sci-fi art and space art, which helps to inspire the scientists and explorers of tomorrow) but I still find their stuff kind of annoying.
Clochette, First, I've opened a lot of books of art, and I mean a lot. Not so much the stuff before 1900 though, except for some of the landscape painters like Albert Bierstadt, whose stuff was actually pretty good.
I think the reason you're replying to me is because you know, on some level (beneath my tongue-in-cheek arrogance), that I'm being sincere and that I'm actually motivated by compassion for you and the other posters here. And you're right about the human visual system being imperfect, just as photography is imperfect at capturing what is actually there, but I think the job of the artist is to improve upon those imperfections rather than attempting to duplicate them. Sargent wasn't that bad, actually, compared to some of those other classical artists, but he wasn't all that either.
And in point of fact (by which I mean my not-so-humble opinion, in this case) I'm actually a fantastic art critic. Perhaps the best one I know. Don't forget, however, that art criticism is a pseudoscience. The emperor has no clothes.
Also, just because something is hard to do, doesn't mean the result is really that great. I'm sure many people could say that of my partially finished alien paintings.
But, to say something nice about the four artists you just mentioned... Sargent did some expressive faces and Anders Zorn's babes were hotter than Rubens'. I also like Sorolla's use of dappled light and strong shadows and reflections, and Velasquez did some great human figures (maybe better than what Bonestell would have done, had he done more of those). Still, these artists were more recent than some of the other "old masters" we've discussed, so naturally their stuff would be better. That's progress. Also, if they'd thrown in a few spaceships and dinosaurs that would have made their stuff more interesting.
Yes it was a joke.
Main Loop, I assure you I'm no troll, and I'm perfectly sane. I do have some Asperger traits in my personality, and I did require some additional tutoring while in grade school, but I don't have full-fledged Asperger's Syndrome. Apart from that I am psychologically "normal." Interestingly, what my parents and teachers did notice when I was in grade school was that I excelled at drawing, compared to my peers, and I wasn't very humble about it either. (Dahami, age 6) Quote: "That's good for a beginner, but I can do better." I have not realized my artistic potential to the degree of most of you guys who are posting here. I have other interests and hobbies, and art is not my profession. I'm thankful to everyone who's posted a comment with the genuine intention of encouraging me to improve my skills as an artist.