Monthly Archives: June 2017

5 Easy Ways to Extend Your Knowledge of Art

1 – Read, read, read

There is a ton of literature about pretty much everything to do with art out there. Head to your local library and you’ll find plenty of books on art. But where do you begin? You don’t want to start by reading up on a very specific branch of art. Instead, find a book for beginners that’s very broad and offers more of a general overview of art without going into too much detail. You want a book that explains things clearly but is still informative and interesting. Look online as well for books on art. If you’re keen on practising art, you’ll find plenty of useful books and guides for beginners, as well as plenty for more advanced artists.

2 – Visit galleries

A great way to expand your knowledge of art is to visit art galleries. Most galleries display works of art with a short overview of the work. Many galleries offer audio commentaries that are available via headsets or some other device that you can borrow. Listening to the commentaries is a lot more useful and informative because they delve into more detail about the works and different genres and periods of art that are represented in the gallery. Visiting galleries offers the chance to view all sorts of art works – you never know what you might come across.

3 – Join an art club

Joining an art club can be great fun. It can also be really useful because you’re spending time with likeminded people who have something in common with you: a love of art. Even if you’re a complete beginner, art clubs can be a great way to expand your art knowledge because you’ve got a group of people right there. Everyone’s different – get speaking to people about art and you’ll find yourself picking up lots of tips and hints. Don’t worry about going if you don’t know anything about art – unless the club specifically states it’s for professionals, you’ll be made to feel welcome. People do love it when newbies come along because they’re interested in art!

4 – Do an art course

Doing an art course offers a more academic approach to art. Whilst art clubs tend to be more relaxed and less formal, art courses tend to be more focused and educational. You’re likely to have lots of information thrown at you, no matter what sort of art course you take, whether it’s art history or practising art, for example. The great thing about art courses is that the emphasis is on learning. Man courses will also offer you the chance to study more in-depth branches of art.

5 – Learn by practising

You can appreciate works of art by looking at them. However, you can only understand the creative process once you’ve created art works of your own. The only way to understand everything about a painting is for you yourself to have some painting experience, for example. Practising art gives you experience that you can’t get from reading. It gives you a much better understanding of what goes into creating a work of art.

Correct Definition Accepted for Art and Its Classification

Art is an area of study that is very broad. Generally, art is defined as a means of self-expression. There is not just one definition widely accepted for Art. Art lends itself to several definitions. Some of these definitions are:

• It is a means of expressing one’s ideas through painting, drawing, sculpting etc.
• It is any activity in which a person gives order and form to organized ideas to bring out a new creation.
• It is a way of life and forms an integral part of life.
• It is the production of items with visual tools such as lines, colour, textures, etc. guided by design principles to satisfy both the aesthetic and functional needs of the individual and the society.
• It refers to the products of human creativity.
•It is a means of self-expression.

Art is broadly divided into two. These are I) Liberal Arts and ii) Creative Arts

i) Liberal Arts refer to the studies intended to provide general knowledge and intellectual skills such as law, literature, government, etc. It is usually referred to as humanities since it is a humanistic discipline that addresses concerns of social living.

ii) Creative Arts refer to the arts that employ creative abilities in the production of artefacts that are useful in carrying out our day to day activities. Unlike the liberal arts, creative arts offer self-occupational or practical skills which are manual in nature to its learners. It is the focus as far as the study of Visual art is concerned.

It should be noted that when the term ‘art’ is mentioned in the realms of visual art education, we are in effect talking about the creative arts. It is divided into two main branches namely a) Visual arts and b) Performing Arts.

Visual Arts

This refers to all creative or artistic products that are perceived with the sense of sight (optical sense-eye), sense of touch (skin) and can arouse emotions. Therefore, any creative product you can see, touch and can arouse in you an emotional feeling can be said to be a visual art form. Let’s take a drawing done on a sheet of paper as an example. Since one can see the drawing with the eye and can touch it while this same drawing also arouses an emotional feeling in the person seeing it, we can say with conviction that drawing is a visual art form.

Visual arts is sometimes referred to as Plastic or solid arts because of their tangible nature. It is divided into two groups. These are Fine arts and Industrial arts.

• Fine Arts are produced to serve as a form of decoration in the interiors and exteriors of homes, offices etc. They are purposely produced to satisfy the aesthetic drive of the viewer. Owing to this, the aesthetic qualities of the works in this area is stressed or given much emphasis in their creation. Though these arts may play other roles, it should be noted that their main function is for decoration. Examples include Painting, Graphic design, Picture making and Sculpture.

• Industrial arts also known as applied arts are those that focus more on the functions or uses of the artistic product, not its aesthetic value. They are created to satisfy the utilitarian needs of the individual while carrying out duties in our everyday life. They are purely usable art forms. Examples include Textiles, Leatherwork, Ceramics, Pottery, and Jewellery.

Performing Arts

These are perceived by the sense of sight and sense of movement (kinesthetic sense). They are performed or played. They are seen in a stream of time. Examples include music, dance and drama. An aspect of performing arts is Verbal arts which are performances communicated with words and body gestures. They include poetry, incantations, recitations etc.

How Important Art Can Be in Your Personal Life and Socio-Economic Development

Art plays a vibrant role in the personal life of the individual as well as in the social and economic development of the nation. The study of Visual arts encourages personal development and the awareness of both our cultural heritage and the role of art in the society. The learner acquires personal knowledge, skills and competencies through activities in Visual arts. When one studies Visual arts, he/she would come to appreciate or understand that art is an integral part of everyday life.

The role art plays in personal development and in the socioeconomic development of the nation have been explained below.

1. It fosters creativity:

Visual art education helps the learner to develop the ability to think, feel and act creatively with visual materials. The student also develops the ability to bring something new into existence. This desirable quality is acquired when the learner engages in practical lessons such as the designing and creation of an artefact in solving a problem or satisfying a need.

2. It offers a total education to the individual:

Visual art education offers holistic education to learners. Such education comes about when the learner produces an artefact in satisfying a particular need in the society. He engages in the organization and exploration of art materials, tools and techniques. Moreover, he gathers varieties of ideas, selects the key ideas, simplifies and analyse them, combine and separate ideas. These problem-solving activities help in educating the head (mental faculties) of the learner.

Also, when the artist uses the tools and materials he had explored and the techniques acquired in producing the artefact he develops manual or practical skills. This caters for the education of the hand.
Visual art education helps learners to appreciate works of art. When we see these artistic creations, they arouse certain feelings in us. Appreciation for the work would move us to talk intelligently and knowledgeably about it. This educates the heart. Owing to this, we can say that the study of Visual arts provides creative education of the head, hand and heart.

3. It helps in learning about our cultural heritage:

Visual art education helps the learner to build an appreciation for our cultural heritage handed down to us by our forefathers. This appreciation is acquired through the learning of the various histories of art and the study of art appreciation and criticism. These studies help the artist to understand the meanings and usefulness of our arts which embody our set of beliefs and ideologies. Thus, works of art are used in maintaining the ideas, knowledge and beliefs of a society as handed down from one generation to another. In this way, we learn about our cultural heritage.

4. Provides knowledge about aesthetics:

The study of Visual arts helps learners to develop keen ideas about beauty (aesthetics). Since the learner is taken through a lot of appreciation and criticism of various artistic creations, he/she develops ‘good taste’. He is able to distinguish between artworks that are aesthetically pleasing and those that are not. This helps the learner to take decisions and make good judgements.

5. Projects personal and national identity:

Visual art education helps learners to build self-respect and personal ego. When an artist produces works of art in and outside the society or country, it projects his identity or makes him known to his own countrymen and foreigners. This largely comes about when the artist exhibits his artistic creations during art exhibitions, fairs and bazaars. When an exhibition is organised outside the country and the artist partakes in it, it assists greatly in projecting his/her nation.

Also, since the themes or subjects of works from Ghana lavishly talk about our culture, it helps in making our culture known to other people of the world.

6. Helps develop subjective thinking for a cordial human relationship:

Skills needed in building a healthy family and human relationships are reflected in art activities. Through the organisation of various opposing elements of design such as lines, shapes, texture, tone, pattern and colour into pleasant relationships, the artist is able to develop a peaceful and cordial relationship with people of various characters and cultural identities.

The study of art appreciation which teaches learners to develop the ability to see ‘good’ in every artistic creation also builds in learners the ability to accept people as they are. This subjective thinking helps in the development of cordial human relationships.

7. Promotes cognitive, psychomotor and affective modes of development:

Visual art education promotes the cognitive mode of development in learners. Skills in thinking and reasoning are developed by the organisation of materials into art forms and critically appreciating them. This critical thinking helps in the cognitive development of learners.

Practical activities in Visual art help to exercise the muscles and keep the body healthy. This promotes the psychomotor development of learners.

The affective or emotional development of learners is nurtured through the appreciation of works of art. Practical lessons in art help the learner in cultivating desirable qualities like patience, long- suffering and tolerance, which helps the heart to be always healthy.

8. Art is used in correcting physical, psychological and emotional growth deficiencies:

Practical activities in visual art can help reduce tension and emotional stress in people. The lives of physically challenged persons and social misfits are reorganised or changed when they engage in practical lessons in art. Those who have deficiencies in their physical and psychological growths are corrected gradually when they explore with art tools and materials in the creation of artworks. Art, therefore, serves as a therapy or medical aid for those with growth deficiencies.

9. Provides avenues for the development of cottage and small-scale industries:

The Visual arts programme provides a creative base for the setting up of small-scale industries. Students are taught how to produce quality products that would meet the taste and demands of the market. In addition, learners are instructed in entrepreneurial skills and on factors to consider in the setting up of their own enterprises in the field of art. This training assists the learners in setting up their own small scale industries.

10. Promotes the tourism industry of the nation:

Works of art are sold to tourists to earn foreign exchange. Art souvenirs are exported to foreign lands to earn substantial funds for the artist and the nation as a whole. This helps in the promotion of the tourism industry.

Sponsoring Arts Studies

One of the enterprising, most important and breathtaking professions and area of study is Art. The great impacts exerted by art in our lives as humans are very severe such that scholars in the field synonymously interchange life with art and vice versa. This is true because from personal adornment through to the enhancement of our societies and the carrying out of our everyday activities pivots on art. It is, however, sad to realize how people rate and value art today. Art receives low patronage and recognition in the pool of other disciplines. Students who would want to pursue the study of art due to their awe-inspiring talents in sculpture, graphics, leatherwork, basketry, ceramics and the other vibrant fields of art do not receive the due sponsorship. These young enterprising artists end up shattering their great talents and resort to engaging in petty chores like cleaning, helping in construction works, housekeeping, and trading. The situation is escalated even in developing countries in Africa. The patronage of art is so low such that students from affluent homes who would want to pursue art are discouraged by their parents and even mocked at by their mates as timid students. The few who courageously take up the cross of art lack funding from funding agencies who prioritize the sponsorship of the so-called sciences and maths! Yet, the multi-million question we must ask ourselves is that ‘Are the other disciplines better than art?

Some argue that health sciences, economics, mathematics, and geography are enterprising because their industries have been established already and those professions are well paid and as such highly respected. Moreover, they are pursued by academically giants and gurus who had higher grading points. Though somehow true, these professions are no better than the arts. A retrospection into the renaissance age stresses this assertion.

Staunch scholars who were well versed theoretically and practically in various fields of human endeavor like Science, Mathematics and Engineering pursued art in the renaissance age. For instance, Leonardo da Vinci who was a leading figure in art, particularly painting and sculpture, was a scientist and engineer at the same time. He reckoned that art played quintessential roles in the society that either surpassed or equaled the sciences and maths. Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Donatello and the other great artists in that era were brilliant scholars! Even today, great scholars and students who attain high grading points study art. This clears the wrong notion that art is pursued by the academically weak and as such receives low patronage and sponsorship.

In addition, art received great sponsorship in the renaissance period. The Medici family from Florence in Italy sponsored art programs, seminars, workshops and competitions that were to hunt for talents in art. Projects in art received high sponsorships from governmental authorities, famous personage and wealthy businessmen in the society. This great support raised the patronage of art and its recognition was commonplace. The situation is different today. Art programs and workshops aimed to raise the standards of art receive low or no sponsorship from funding agencies, institutions and wealthy well-meaning persons in the society. This situation must cease if we want to realize the advancement in our societal, national and global development.

Art must be associated with respect and status in our societies due to the great impact it wields on societal events and activities like its counterparts in other disciplines. In fact, the so-called successful fields of study like architecture, engineering, mathematics, and the health sciences depend on art in the discharge of their duties.