“Art when really understood is the province of every human being”
Robert Henri, American artist and teacher (1865 -1929)
We see the world as a collection of shapes and the relationship of those shapes to each other and to ourselves. The proportions, colors, texture, direction and interaction of these shapes affect how we feel about them. Beyond that, we perceive a rather distorted version of things, altered by our own likes and dislikes and prejudices. Some distortions define our personality because we were born with them. Other distortions develop through learning or with age.
I draw many parallels between the visual arts and music, the audible arts. Music is a rich combination of tones within some sort of rhythmical context. The tones have relationships to each other and to the rhythm and to a time sequence. The visual arts, I think, may be thought of in this way. The relationship of the individual shapes to time may only be apparent to the artist-creator as the piece was made. But it is there nonetheless. One can liken the finished visual work to a recording of a musical composition. Both the visual work and the musical work are performances with the musician and visual artist the performers. Along that line, a visual artist can think of eye training as the analog of the musician’s ear training.
A visual work is a commingling of accident and design. The design functions to guide the overall direction. Things like height and width might be fixed along with certain other decorative elements, while “interpretation” or “happy accident” may take the form of making some forms more prominent or in a slightly different position. In music the score may be fixed, but the musician has some leeway in expression with nuances of accent or timing. This is where emotion is strongly involved. In either case, audible or visual, the interpretation, that part that is not cast in stone, may be accidental or else intentional but decided on the spur of the moment during the performance based on feeling.
Learn to look and listen to the world around you. Really look at visual things and see the relationships of shapes and how they change and how you think about them. Listen to music, whatever kind you like, and see if you can find where the chords change.
Enjoy life, and let art be your province.