Thoughts and Judgements

On working through my prep for assignment 1 something really struck me.  I wrote down “I want to make them (the images) more grotesque”…and then I thought to myself “but do I?”, “Why?”.

It struck me that I had made a judgment without contemplation or even conscious awareness.  I was reminded of the piece at the beginning of Emily Ball’s book, “Drawing & Painting People” where she writes about the contributors.  She says:-

We all practise what we preach, continually testing our theories and challenging our own preconceptions to extend and develop our work.  No resting on laurels amongst this lot!”

I also am reminded of Will Gompertz’s excellent book “Think Like an Artist“. He speaks of the ‘Socratic dialogue‘.  The following are quotes that really struck me as incredibly important for my practice going forward:-

pg 103 “His (Socrates) technique, known today as the Socratic method, is based on assuming nothing and questioning everything in pursuit of absolute truths.  Socrates used doubt in the form of scepticism to challenge preconceptions.  It is categorically not about cynicism, which is the polar opposite.  Cynicism is reductive and destructive and pre-meditated.  Scepticism, on the other hand, when intelligently deployed, is enlightening.  It solves problems.  And problems – that is, questions in need of a solution – are at the heart of creativity because they force us to think.  And it is when we think that we start to question, and to question is to imagine.  And to imagine is to conceive ideas, and conceiving ideas is the basis for creativity.  But then, having an idea is easy; it is having a good idea that is difficult.  They are the precious jewels that emerge only when we reallyput our thinking to the test, by subjecting it to the Socratic method. “pg 114 “The more we look, the more we question”.

pg 110 He writes as Socrates is described as “having a relentless system of enquiry”.

pg 114 “Questioning does not make creativity more difficult.  Rather it brings clarity and brevity and purity to our ideas”.

pg 114 “The decisions have the validity of being conscious choices derived from an exacting investigation.  And that gives a work a perceptible authority and robustness.  Thoughtfullness transmits.”

It is the necessity for rigorous questioning that will hopefully help my work deepen.  Not to make casual assumptions based on a feeling or a fleeting idea.  I have to think ‘but why?’, ‘what is the purpose in that’, ‘what will that achieve’, ‘what is it i want to say here’…the questions for myself are endless but if I am completely engaged then hopefully I will hear them and my work will start to be based on a deeper truth.



Ball, E. (2015) Drawing and Painting People Wiltshire: The Crowood Press Ltd

Gompertz. W (2015) Think Like an Artist UK: Penguin Random House UK


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