It’s a kind of magic

Are you the kind of person who looks for the trap door at the magic show? Or do you sit there enthralled, waiting to be wowed?

Magic is interesting in that it’s something that gets done TO the audience. The audience watches, and it’s what they do or don’t see that creates the illusion.

The magician is in the know. He knows how it’s done, but the only thing he can’t know is the audience’s reaction. (I’m using ‘he’ here, although my 6 year old daughter would be thoroughly berating me saying why I’m not using ‘she‘ instead. It’s a fair point!)

I’m often wondering about art - is it a form of magic? certainly the audience feels something that varies from person to person, reacting differently, but within a certain predictable range. A beautiful painting is likely to inspire awe rather than revulsion (I hope!)

But where does that leave the artist?

Do they know how all the tricks are done? (how to mix colours, which colours and brushstrokes evoke emotions, which subject matters are likely to resonate)

As an artist keen to learn how the greats made their works, how much of it is things that can be learnt and how much of it needs to be discovered?

I’m trying to find books and articles on the thinking behind the work (was it Warhol who said that was what you needed to look at?), but it’s proving surprisingly difficult.

I’m not sure if it’s because a lot of artists are happy to just do the work and not dwell on where it comes from, or maybe they don’t see the train of thought as of interest. Perhaps even if they speak of it out loud the muse will refuse to visit, like being banished out of the Magical Circle (what is that called? Magician’s Circle?).

Perhaps I just have to write what my inspiration is and hope that that somehow brings some answers. Similar to how teaching it to someone else helps you understand it better yourself.

Or if you have any recommendations, please let me know!

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