No More Applesauce

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“If apple is the language of the future then art must be its core.”  Elliot Eisner

Life without art is bland, soulless.  Art lights up even the most mundane of daily tasks.  Imagine a world without the beauty of the musical note, the brush stroke, the written word, the dance movement and more from the arts.  Without art, life is just pale and lifeless.  It’s mush.  It’s applesauce.

Botanical german11An apple without a core has no backbone.  Applesauce is the result of a coreless apple.  With applesauce, there is no examination of the reds, yellows and greens that make up the rich color of peal, the beauty of apple skin.  No study of the form or shape of the apple, its symmetry and texture.  With applesauce, there is no crisp sharp sound of that first bite piercing through the skin to the sweet inside.  No spray of juice as teeth breakthrough peal.  There is no rhythm to eating applesauce like the careful approach of navigating bites separating the edible from the core.

A life without art is a life without a core.  Why be content with applesauce when you can have the whole beautiful intimate encounter with the complete apple? An apple has so much of sight, of sound, of taste, of feel, of scent.  Not so with applesauce.  There is some sweetness to applesauce but very little of the sensuous delight of the complete apple.  Not unpleasant but lacking in the vital experience of engaging all the senses.  Life without art is just applesauce.

*The art education world has lost one of its greatest voices with the passing of Elliot Eisner this week.  For more on Elliot Eisner’s contributions to art education, see the National Art Education Association’s (NAEA) website at the link.


Other posts about Elliot Eisner:

Right Brain Vision, Left Brain Knowledge

Screen shot 2013-09-23 at 10.41.48 AM“It is in this sense, I believe, that the field of education has much to learn from the arts about the practice of education.”  Elliot Eisne(from   

Artists regularly utilizing drawing in their work know it sharpens visual skills and heightens awareness of the focused subject.  Science is coming around to that awareness, as well, thanks to innovative science instructors like North Carolina State University’s Jennifer Landon.  Art Plantae Today has an excellent interview with Landon.  Left- brain scientists are embracing right -brain art.

Landon is an instructor of biology and requires her students to participate in regular drawing activities.  She set out to prove that participation in drawing would enhance student knowledge of biology.  Art Plantae will be following with the results.

Having taught botanical drawing for several years, I can see that Landon is likely right.  Once I began to draw more flora and fauna, I developed enhanced awareness of growth, color, shape and more.  My guess is that many other visual artists and photographers would say the same.

The evidence is increasingly proving: right -brain or left -brain, we really need both.

A Heart Falls in the Woods

“Art is Literacy of the heart”—Elliot Eisner

The heart speaks through art as any artist can attest but do others always hear?  Does it matter as long as the heart speaks?  Artists are driven to continue to speak whether anyone is listening or not.  Does it matter to the artist whether or not his/her heart is heard?  Is the point to give voice to the heart and not worry about whom, if anyone, is listening? No.

As long as an artist can make art, that is vital.  However, when you have worked so hard to give the heart a voice, it becomes important to follow through and also make a way for that voice to be heard.  The art is not complete until its voice has been heard.  Frequently, for whatever reason, we neglect this part of the art equation.  The heart is speaking.  We must see that it gets heard.

Photographer Tom Kostas states, “Art and poetry have revealed more to me than any other field of study I have encountered, including philosophy, in my life.”  What is revealed from the heart through art is important to pass on, to share.

Helping the heart get heard can be difficult for some artists, especially if introverted.  Perhaps that makes it even more important to find a way to get heard.  Does the heart break if we don’t carry the work all the way through to the end result of being heard?  Art made in isolation and not put out for others to experience is like the tree that falls in the woods.  Does it make a sound if no one is listening?  Thoughts anyone??

Hear more from Dr. Elliot Eisner:

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