Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Honestly! It's an orange.

Any type of art form will have its critics. Actually, that's a fairly negative way of phrasing that. Let me try again. Any type of art form will have its fans. And of these fans, many will have different reasons for liking something.
When reading reviews of The Hidden Sun, it became clear to me than men liked the action while women liked the romance. Almost across the board, people enjoyed the characters and the twists and turns. Many struggled with the names I invented, so much so that I've added a whole new page on my website dedicated on how to pronounce them.
And then there are those who couldn't get beyond the technical issues in the book (I'm talking about grammar, editing mistakes and the such, not plot points--the plot was GREAT!).
It reminds me of an art class I had to take in High School. In order to graduate, you had to fulfill certain requirements. Example: you needed to have so many math or science or English classes and such. One of these requirement was around art. It could be fulfilled if you were in the band (I don't play an instrument), or in chorus (I have a severe case of athlete's voice), or drama (I was rather shy back then) or art classes. I defaulted to the art class--since there was nothing else I could really do.
On the first day of class, the teacher set out a bowl of fruit and asked us to draw it. I looked at my classmates as they went to it. Some had special drawing pads, many had several different types of pencils--various widths and such. Me? I pulled out a lined paper and my #2 pencil. I think I even sharpened it before I started drawing. Here is what my drawing looked like: The teacher had us hand in our work at the end of class. When I turned mine in, she asked, "Is this some kind of joke?" I answered, "No. I did my best." Her response? "What are you even doing in this class?"
That was a good question. My answer? I never went back to that class again. I would just skip it, or "sluffed" it as we called it back then. Yes--I failed the class. Fortunately, I was able to get into the radio program we had at the school and that ended up counting as my art requirement (though I went in as an engineer to fix and maintain the equipment).
Lesson learned from this? You can't please everyone when you are doing anything creative--whether it be art, music or writing.
Final case in point:
A good friend of mine took an art class in college. One of his first assignments was to draw a tree. With pencil and paper in hand, off he went on his quest. He found a particularly attractive tree and sketched it. The next class, the teacher had the students bring up their drawings and he would grade them from 1 to 10 (10 being the best). After a quick glance over of my friends drawing, he wrote the number "6" in red at the top. My friend was none too pleased.
The teacher said that they could do the assignment again if they wanted to improve their score. Off he went, this time adding more detail and shading to the tree. He spent a good couple of hours working on it. Again, he took it to the teacher, and again, the teach gave it a quick glance over and wrote the number "6" on it.
My friend was given one last chance to improve his score. He set aside a whole Saturday and drew the tree. He caught little nuances in the bark he had missed before and added them. He played with how the light shone through the branches and leaves. He added some of the ground around the base of the tree to show the root system. It was amazing.
Excited, he took his drawing to the next class. The experience helped him see things he had not seen before. Proudly, he displayed his work to the teacher. After a quick look over, the teacher took his red pen and on the paper wrote a big number "6".

1 comment:

  1. Wow good case in point. Looking forward to reading your work
    Take care