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Showing posts from August, 2014

The Importance of Silence in Art

Michael David Rosenberg, the musician known as Passenger, sings, "See all I need is a whisper in a world that only shouts."

In the workshops I teach, I find that one of the most common problems with paintings is that they shout. Most have too much going on: too many small shapes, too much texture, extremes of colour, too many lines, too much, too much. One thing I say most often as I walk around the classroom working with students individually, is 'make bigger shapes'.  But not only bigger shapes. Quiet shapes.  Where can your eye go and rest in the painting?
That isn't a consideration in much of contemporary painting or much of contemporary life.  Ours is a noisy world both visually and auditorily.  Ours is a world that shouts.  People are afraid of silence.
I wrote a blog post 3 years ago about planning a retreat in my own home, where I shut off the computer and the phone and spent a week alone and in silence.  I wrote another post about the effect it had on …