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Visual Art is...

the most sublime, irritating, and/or rewarding practice we have yet devised to express our humanness.

cave painting
Researchers believe this 45,500-year-old Indonesian cave painting, apparently of a pig, is the oldest known depiction of the animal world. It’s among several recently unearthed prehistoric images that are shedding new light on the dawn of art. Image credit: Maxime Aubert (Griffith University, Nathan QLD, Australia).

Decorative art was probably not the first art created. A hand placed on a cave wall while the wily artist blew ochre around it was big in the prehistoric era, along with truly amazing animal drawings that probably depicted where to throw a sharpened stick.

Although not documented, we started with a stick and mud, realizing quickly that our efforts, although lovely, did not last. Literally, anyone could pick up a stick and draw in the goo. Our feature artist, a prehistoric human, wowed the existing art world at that time by selecting ochers applied to a cave wall. It was instructional for the hunters as well as rewarding for the artist as it endured. Heck, it’s still here!

Just think, that first artist had to hold the image of the pig in their mind while gathering the materials to begin work. It is rather amazing! I wonder if the tribe watched as this artist painted. I can imagine a guy at the back saying “Make the head bigger.”

All of us in this art business have our own reasons for continuing to be an artist. Sometimes it is difficult to overcome our apparent shortcomings and yet most of us feel the desire to grow in technique and observation. What is noteworthy about the artists I have come to know is that most of them are generous with their knowledge. To nurture is to grow as a human. Frankly, I love artists, they are the best of humanity!



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