Jackie Hurd
Graphic Designer & Illustrator

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Located in Southern Pines, NC, Jackie is an Illustrator and graphic designer. Subscribe to this blog to learn more about Jackie, her experiences in creativity and helpful tips for fellow creatives.

Aesthetic Emotion

This came from my sketchbook. It started as just a quick sketch showing the bond between mother and son. 

 I'm not sure who this is by. I found it on Pinterest. 

I'm not sure who this is by. I found it on Pinterest. 

A lot of times I get stuck in the drawing process before I even begin. I do I'm thinking too hard about what I want to "draw". I watch my kids do the same thing and my advice to myself and to them lately has been to just get it out. Just put it on paper as fast as you can and then move on. Once you get it out, it can be turned into something better later, used as a reference drawing or perhaps it will be perfect as it is. If anything, consider it practice. 

What I've realized is that perfect form is great but capturing emotion is what really makes a difference. Emotion is what draws the viewer in. Emotion is what makes us fall in love with whatever it is we are looking at. That's why simple illustrations containing only line drawings work. Like the one I've posted above from my sketchbook or the simple line sketch I've included in this post of a man and a woman that I found on Pinterest. I saw it and it immediately caught my attention. It makes me wonder what this man and woman are going through. They have a story, what is it?

What I'm experiencing by falling in love with this simple sketch is according to Clive Bell called aesthetic emotion and it's completely subjective, even the term aesthetic emotion is subjective because some disagree with Bell's theory. While I see the sketch of the woman leaning on the man as a work of art, someone else might think it's crap... just a sketch, an unfinished piece... and that's completely ok. That's the beauty in it, it gives every artist a chance to succeed and develop their own style because someone out there will love their work, right? 

To better explain myself, and Bell's theory of aesthetic emotion I'll leave you with the first paragraph of Clive Bell's essay titled "The Aesthetic Hypothesis". I'm not sure that I agree with everything in his essay but read the rest for yourself in his book titled "Art" and let me know what you think. The essay starts on page 3. 

The starting-point for all systems of aesthetics must be the personal experience of a peculiar emotion. The objects that provoke this emotion we call works of art; this emotion is called the aesthetic emotion. All works of visual art have some common quality, or when we speak of ‘works of art’ we gibber. There must be some one quality without which a work of art cannot exist, which is significant form. In each, lines and colours combined in a particular way, certain forms and relations of forms, stir our aesthetic emotions. It will be said that the objects that provoke this emotion vary with each individual, and that therefore a system of aesthetics can have no objective validity. However, we have no other means of recognizing a work of art than our feeling for it. I have no right to consider anything a work of art to which I cannot react emotionally; and I have no right to look for the essential quality in anything that I have not felt to be a work of art. All systems of aesthetics must be based on personal experience-that is to say, they must be subjective.

 

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