In one of my art classes, we’re working in water color. I’ll be the first to admit that it is not my forte, but somehow I’m still somewhat at odds with my art teacher. According to her, there’s an enormous set of unbreakable rules that follow water color painting.

1. Thou shalt NOT use white paint…ever.

2. Thou shalt not add details on anything until all color is in place.

3. Thou shalt always work from “back” to “front” on a picture.

To name just a few.

A friend of mine’s painting of a mountain/forest scene in the same class right now is one of the most beautiful and downright kick-ass paintings I’ve ever seen in water color, and everyone else in the classroom agrees save for the instructor. My teacher says that it is too “over worked,” and that my friend “needs to stop now before ruining it completely.”

Of course anyone who reads this is on the outside of that issue and cannot provide an opinion on the painting themselves, but the argument on how good the work is is not my point.

It is from these two experiences following my studies in the U.S. Constitution (focusing on the separation of church and state part) along with my criticism of rigid structuralist psychology (the idea that the mind’s workings can be divided into definitive sections)that I have developed what I like to call the “Linear Non-Linearity Theory.”

The main idea is that one cannot apply linear thinking to non-linear situations in absolution. In the separation of church and state, the government has no control over what your chosen religion is. When they did, failure of the system was inevitable because one cannot place too solid of regulations on something that can change from person to person.

The same applies to too structural of looks at the human psyche. One cannot always predict or estimate the power of choice, as choice is non-linear and changes from person to person.

And thus I come to rules in painting. Art is the very definition of non-linear, of the human mind looking at the environment in ways never thought of, in making connections and conclusions that no computer-brain could fathom to understand. To my art teacher, she doesn’t seem to know the saying “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” Of course, I’m not saying that guidelines of conduct to achieve wanted appearances in artwork isn’t useful.

To better illustrate this, I’ve come up with the idea of placing an iron rod into a puddle of water. The water will not be conformed to the bar, but will remain in its random “puddle” shape. In fact, over time the iron rod will rust and deteriorate. That is the example of introducing rigid linear rules into a non-linear environment.

The correct way to introduce positive structural ideas into an arena such as art could be compared to a sponge. We start again with the same puddle, but we place a sponge in it. Much, but not all, of the water is absorbed by the sponge. One reason the hypothetical sponge does not get eaten away at by its non-linear host is because the sponge is flexible.

You can introduce guidelines and rules into an open subject without failure as long as those rules and guidelines are able to accommodate for non-linear change.

Comments? Questions?

PS: Nice ice-blue theme, Kit!

PPS: Oh…my…gosh. The new banner is indescribably beautiful!