"qui Plus Sait, Plus Se Tait" Part Deux
Well, in one of my deleted blog entries I had talked about the french phrase "Qui plus sait, plus se tait" (The more a man knows, the less he speaks) and how I was understanding the phrase far more now than I did when I had read it, some twenty years ago. Here's an update on the practice of that wisdom.
It's hard to remain silent......but not in the way one might think.................
I may start a new french phrase "Les gens vous attireront pour parler quand vous essayez de rester silencieux". To any french-speakers out there in the blogosphere, please forgive my french...I am American after all The new phrase would be translated as "People will entice you to speak when you try to remain silent". Apparently, remaining silent tends to bug most people, and they redouble their efforts to break the silence. I'm still working on this one.....meaningless updates to follow from time to time.....
"Qui plus sait, plus se tait" works very well for arguments, however. I have avoided many spoken arguments, and a few forum arguments, but adopting that nifty little phrase. And now that I've brought up the forum, I should say that my keyboard, not my mouth, runneth over these days. I can't seem to say in three words what I do in thirty. Were I Dumas, and being paid by the word, I'd be richer than Gates by now.
In my younger days, I could never quite understand the Impressionists and Abstractists. In those days I strived for realism in my artwork. I clawed my way up that slope of realism until I reached a plateau of sorts. On that plateau, I could look at my art and be pleased that I'd rendered a rock, tree, person or cloud with adequate realism. A thing looked as it should and that was a great achievement for me. At that time I would look on the roughly drawn Impressionistic works and wonder at the artist's lack of skill. I would look at the Abstractist and call him a con-man, painting splotches of color to sell in galleries to ignorant rich people who thought they were buying art.
After ascending many slopes and plateaus in my hike for realism, I have now reached a crossroads. I think all artists reach this crossroads sooner or later and they must choose a path. The path on the right leads to realism; the path on the left leads to abstractism. I can render any earthly object with reasonable accuracy but now I must choose whether or not to advance that skill to the next level. I have seen that level of skill in wildlife artists who painstakingly render every feather on a hawk's wing, every long blade of grass hiding an antelope, every handful of fur on a dog's hide. That path is the cerebral one. That path teaches control and patience and perfection. The end result is breathtaking and universally accepted as 'good art'.
The other path looks more like a deer trail than a true path. In fact, after a few steps it ceases to be a path and turns into a thick forest. This is the path of the abstractists and I now understand it. You can only get to this path after ascending the slopes of realism. You can only capture emotions and memories as the abstractists do after you know reality and reject it's constraints.
There's a Hiyao Miyazaki film called "Kiki's Delivery Service" that is a simple little story about a young witch coming into her powers. At one point in the film, Kiki loses her confidence, and her ability to fly, so she stays with an artist friend in the woods for a while. That artist explains to Kiki that she once lost her ability to draw and would try to produce artwork, only to come up with bad imitations of other artists' work. It was then that the artist realized that she was really searching for her own style and she was not satisfied anymore to simply copy other artists. I am at that point. I look at my artwork so far and it's all really just bad copies of other artists' work. I must face the notion that I need to find my 'style'.
Now I'm still on that plateau with one clear path and one rather sketchy path in front of me. I think I'll wander down the little deer trail a while......