June 17, 2016

What’s an Art Verve?

No, it’s not an energy drink or a rock band…'verve' is a noun synonymous with 'vigor' defined as:

  1. energy or enthusiasm in the expression of ideas, especially in artistic performance or composition, an example would be “the revival lacked the verve of the original musical.” 
  2. vitality; liveliness

Artists whether they know it or not, need this type of stuff in order to keep on creating and notice how we said, “keep on creating”…

(Vermeer, Johannes. The Art of Painting. c. 1666. oil on canvas.
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.)

Have you ever taken a class and created something you really liked or were really proud of then thought to yourself, “I can do this!” You then proceed after the class with an enormous amount of motivation to go home or out into the world and create even more. Do you envision yourself creating a huge quantity of work or practicing day after day honing your skills to become a master, only to find yourself a few weeks later staring at all of your art supplies collecting dust?

You may be missing the artistic verve!

Folks that create art whether they are new to the process or masters need inspiration, support, or a community in which to create. No one tells you that in art school, there is a romantic idea that you will graduate with your degree in art, step up a workspace, start creating, and presto you become a professional artist.

On the other hand for beginners or those who are self-taught, there are so many reasons to create but nothing seems to be happening in your workspace. It's a similar situation to what's commonly referred to as writer’s block but for visual artists. The secret ingredient is that a community or collective group of people are part of the equation and you need that to be inspired, create with vigor or get the enthusiasm behind an idea.

Whether you recognize it or not, when you participate in an art class, you are getting the verve. This is why you get so motivated afterward beyond going to class or doing your homework. Art guilds can also have the same effect, they facilitate events for people to draw or paint together.

History repeats itself over and over, ever wonder why all of those really famous artists throughout history were always found hanging out with one another? A great example of this was the French Impressionists and their artistic movement. They all knew each other, hung out together, and in some cases even shared studio spaces with each other. Together they changed the world!

Some of the most famous artistic movements have also been spawned by art schools where the students collaborated with each one another collaboratively. The Bauhaus was a famous art school in Germany and a perfect example that combined crafts with the visual arts. In the early 20th century, their students were responsible for the Art Deco movement and its incredible architectural designs that reflect in New York's Chrysler Building.

These folks were all sharing ideas, artistic techniques, and collectively without awareness, they formed the “verve” for one another, which gave them the motivation to continue creating. Barbara Streisand said it the best, in the movie Funny Girl, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”

So if you are unhappy with the quality or quantity of what you are creating, take an art class! Join an art guild, or teach a class and you will catch a “verve” that will inspire or propel your artistic journey forward!