Part I –Circle of Friends and Art Vocabulary
Having a circle of friends who are artists can help to expand one’s artistic skills and open doors to different ways of expressing oneself creatively. However, limiting our circle of friends to only those who share similar ways of creative expression may do little to expand our skills. Although I am a beaded jewelry artist and know many wonderful beaded jewelry artists, my circle of artist friends includes painters, ceramic artists, musicians, and glass artists.
Several years ago, my friend Paula Wenzl, who is a wonderful painter and clay artist, encouraged me to take some art classes. I went ahead and enrolled in a drawing class at the local community college. Probably the most important things I learned there were to see as an artist and the vocabulary artists use – form, hue, perspective, focal point, values, unity, etc. Learning this vocabulary and what it means has enabled me to “see” as an artist. By this I mean my brain is able to filter in visual information that I was not previously was not able to see. This ability to “see” has definitely influenced my jewelry designs. For example, I am very conscious about focal point, balance and harmony when designing an elaborate embroidered piece of jewelry.
Critiques can be very helpful in sorting out what works in a piece from what does not. And artistic friends are well equipped to identify, from a technical standpoint why it does or does not work. If you are looking for ways to develop your artistic abilities and creative expression, I encourage you to develop your art vocabulary and build friendships with artists who work in different media.