At the City Art Gallery, hung on the wall in red, black and white, was a painting on square canvas. The ridges of paint beneath its finished colours showed that it had looked different at the start of its creation.

If it were on my wall, I would think of it as some squares, or overlapping rectangles.

On the Art Gallery wall, it represents part of New Zealand’s best art on public display.



I place this square here, and ask you why this simple form would grace the walls of a national art gallery, because it confounds me.

Why is this owl important? http://www.allposters.com.au/-sp/Owl-posters_i336008_.htm

Owl by Pablo Picasso, from allpostersimages.com

Pablo Picasso’s Owl

It was drawn by Pablo Picasso.

Who here says they cannot “do art?” Art is an expression of an individual, any mark you put on paper, canvas, the wet sand at the beach. Every mark run through the misty window glass while watching the cold world outside the school bus window.

Children are often taught they cannot “do art” from a very early age. They are told, “No, that is not how to draw a …..” and the dots are filled with anything the child may be drawing. A cat, a family member, a tree, a cloud. The marks they make are their expression, and relate to their unique way of perceiving the world around them, mixed with their own emotion, and way of communicating. Perhaps it is a dance, or a humming of a tune that has never yet existed. Yet they are told, “No, you can’t draw.”

I tell you right now, that you can draw. You can use line, colour, form, to express yourself, your inner world. Or reflect the world around you. You can communicate the fleeting idea that passed through your mind, like water filling a sponge and dripping through to make wet splashes on the hot, dry pavement.

You can dance on the sand, and whirl around and look at the footprints dancing in their own happy pattern. See the birds have left their prints behind too. Art is not defined by what is hanging in a gallery. There is a sense of permanence and monetary value, and yet that is not the true value of art. Art is temporary. Even the most “permanent” art will disintegrate with time. Just like when the tide comes in, and gently wipes the marks away from the sand, leaving a fresh new canvas for the next artist to express a thought, a feeling, a movement, an idea, a memory.

A couple of posts on the fickle nature of investment art.

Investing in Art – http://pleasantlivinghome.blogspot.co.nz/2013/11/investing-in-art.html

Fine Art can be a Fine Investment – http://finance.yahoo.com/news/fine-art-fine-investment-130000554.html

Each and every one of you will colour those squares differently. Some will colour within the lines. Some will colour through or outside of the lines, enjoying doing so, or angrily scratching them out, or blithely ignoring them. Some will pick up a wax crayon, others a brightly coloured felt tip pen, still others will lovingly coat the squares in vibrant, or soft, layers of coloured pencil. Others will rip or cut out, glue or staple, paint, or scribble with ballpoint pen, around and around until completely blue. Some will dip in tea, and leave to dry in the sun, burning the edges with a magnifying glass set at just the right angle in the sun.

The list is endless. Some may draw up a grid and transfer the pattern to a concrete floor, ten times larger, and paint it with long lasting sun-resistant house paints, and put a pot plant in the middle, then sit back and contemplate it while sipping a steaming hot herbal tea.

Others will chew it up and swallow it with a strong black espresso, washed down with whipped cream.

A child may look at it and then look at the ceiling tiles in their classroom, and wonder why. Why?

Of course, the next child, or is it you, will pick it up and say, “Hey! Who wants to play noughts and crosses?” Or you might call it Tic Tac Toe.

Whatever, I don’t care, it is up to you, and it is yours to do. Do you laugh at me? Please know, I am not laughing at you.

I could tell you to try drawing a happy face, and other faces in each square. But I don’t. Because it is up to you. Discover what might happen if you do something, anything, just because you saw these squares. Explore what it means to you. See if it is something you want to share.


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