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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dabblers

Someone over on the SAQA yahoo group made a comment about some people who were in the group were "dabblers" who were quick to try any technique which came down the pike and intimated that challenges were not for "serious" artists. She also went on to disparage quilters who worked in "photo realism."

I hope what she really meant was that SAQA is composed of two levels, Professional Artist Members and the regular crew.   Needless to say, I'm part of the regular crew and joined in part because I aspire to become better.  While I don't think there are enough days left for me to be a professional artist, in my heart of hearts, that's what I'd like.  However, I don't like being called a "dabbler."

These ducks, Mallards, are of a variety which are called "dabblers" as they float on the surface eating weeds and bugs and what they can get shallowly rather than being one of the diving ducks who dive with the purpose to grab a fish on the fly.  You can see, when you're a dabbler, you expose your backside.

I also don't think that participating in challenges which use a particular technique or material makes you a dabbler...someone not serious and driven to dive deep after that fish.  I usually participate in those types of challenges because I had been mulling over an idea which used either that technique or that material....and I think challenges drive you to produce...there's a deadline...which for me is always a good thing.

I don't think that there is anything wrong in experimentation with materials which may not be our norm.  We might indeed find that there is something which can really fit our vision or skills and they become incorporated into our tool box.  Or we may find that it just isn't for us.  Sometimes I think intellectually that I don't like something and by trying it out...I find I'm wrong...often just as much as I find I'm right. 

I don't see, however, where it is right to disparage either group...the divers or the dabblers.  Sometimes I get a bit grumpy about how people are reluctant to have their work critiqued, but that's because I see it as a vehicle to becoming better at what I do.  I do recognize that it is MY prejudice, and MY disappointment that I can't readily find a local group who is interested in critique.  But these are my issues and they shouldn't be projected on anyone else. 


The "realism" viewpoint is a horse I'm going to flog in another blog post.  Stay tuned.  Or not. :)

4 comments:

kathy loomis said...

It's always good to play and experiment every now and then. The problem is when you do it all the time, and never get serious about anything. That's what I see as a common practice among many "quilt artists" -- every quilt is a one-off, there's never a body of work or a series or a visible development over time.

And it has nothing to do with whether you're a "professional artist member" or not. A lot of alleged professionals never seem to develop very much, in my observation.

Michigoose said...

True, Kathy. I also suppose this is where the danger with Challenges comes in. Developing a series and developing a thought is important...but a thought just came through my mind.

I know of a number of arists (painters) who do landscapes, still lives and portraits. They don't develop a theme, usually the image is a "one-off." Are these less of an artist?

Just a thought for further discussion.

Robbie said...

I love being a dabbler! I've learned so much and have enjoyed just trying different techniques. Some have held my interest and helped me get better in my work and other techniques just filled a day when I wanted something different to do. At this time in my life, I do what I want, when I want to...if that makes me a dabbler, so be it. I've been called worse things in my life I'm sure! I just have too much fun in my life and too busy to worry about a nametag. Good post! Thanks much!!

kathy loomis said...

As for those painters -- do all their landscapes have similarities? Do all their still lives have similarities? It's possible to have more than one series going at a time.

If every landscape looks different from every other landscape, etc., then I would argue that yes, they are less of artists. Look at Van Gogh or Rembrandt or whoever your favorite artist is -- he may have painted different things but his style, voice, whatever you want to call it, was recognizable and strong no matter what his subject matter.