The Laws of Nature

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Education of the Artist, Part 3

The View from the Studio Door: How Artists Find Their Way in an Uncertain World
By Ted Orland (2006)

Chapter 4: The Education of the Artist, Part 3

In this section, Orland discusses the most important mentor in his life – the famous photographer Ansel Adams. Their fifteen year relationship was critically important to this author’s development as an artist. What made Adams an effective mentor was his single-minded approach to his art coupled with a broadminded philosophy. Adams had a clear vision about the content and purpose of his work. As Orland puts it:

Over the long run what I came to value most were the intangibles I absorbed simply by standing near someone who had found something important that he needed to say through his art, had molded his technique to match that vision, and – most of all – demonstrated the strength of will it takes to stay focused on reaching that goal. It isn’t the equipment or tonal range or recent auction price or even the subject matter that I relate to when I look at Ansel’s art – it’s the sincerity and passion and care and trust he embedded into the making of that art.

I must think about this description all weekend. Isn't Adams the role model we've all been searching for as both an artist and a mentor?

What are your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

Hi Kathy, This discussion on how we educates ourselves as artist reminds me of how challenging it is to make great art. It seems to involve complete engagement of our mind. What strength of character Ansel Adams must have had.

-Don said...

What a lucky man Mr. Orland was to have had the opportunity to learn under Ansel Adams.

About two years ago the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art had a great exhibit on Adams' work. As much as I enjoyed the wonderful photography, I got even more out of the excerpts from his journals which were read for each piece. It was so cool to get inside the head of the man who captured these timeless images. Having heard his 'voice' I know a little of what Mr. Orland enjoyed.


Mark Sheeky said...

My thoughts are what a great photo. Perhaps passion isn't injected but ignited, and finding someone or something to do that is most probably inevitable for those who want it.

Casey Klahn said...

How did AA keep from becoming overwhelmed and sidetracked by all of that monumental scenery? I wan to know more, now.

Now I see why I have been so interested in artist bios the past couple of years.

Good post!

Unknown said...

Hi Peggy - total immersion seems to be key alright. I wish I had known Ansel Adams!

Hi Don - that must have been a great experience! Wish I had been there.

Hi Mark - I like your word - "ignition" in contrast to injected. Thank you!

Hi Casey - I would be distracted, for certain. One of my neighbors in Maine put huge glass windows in her art studio overlooking the water. It wasn't long before she had them boarded over because the view was distracting.

hw (hallie) farber said...

I will wonder this weekend if I've known anyone who was totally immersed in his work. (Maybe those are the people we don't often meet.)

Celeste Bergin said...

I love Ansel Adams!

Unknown said...

Hi Hallie - those folks are the ones who tend to walk around in paint-covered clothes all the time with a paintbrush sticking behind their ear :-)

Hi Celeste - me too!