Universal skills in the visual arts include mastery of composition, form rendering, tone values and colour schemes. Further control of materials such as paints, lacquers, inks, chalk, brushes, papers, canvases, panels, graphic and spatial techniques, etc. Insight into expressive values from poetry to drama, in all kinds of suggestive variations from tranquil atmospheres to intense contrasts. These are abstract concepts, applicable to all forms of visual art.
There are major cultural differences worldwide in the use of these skills. In western and eastern Asia there is traditionally an emphasis on a connection between poetry, calligraphy and image; in southern Asia on relationships between religion and philosophy (with sometimes abstract results), in Oceania and Africa on deformation and magical meaning, etc. But, figuratively or not, these universal skills play the leading role everywhere.
Skills in representational European art.
In traditional European art, realism – whether idealised or not – predominates. This requires knowledge of space suggestion through plasticity, and through atmospheric and geometric perspective. From spatial composition or ‘ordinance’, as well as knowledge of anatomy, comparative anatomy and of plant and tree growth methods. Knowledge of the incidence of light, of the expression of material, etc.
Good art is based on mastery of all these and similar components, which must be applied in combinations, to be summed up as the ‘skills’. For a variety of reasons, these skills have been relegated to the background or even lost in large parts of the world. Moved by the wave of time, ever larger groups of artists are now motivated to recapture this mastery: ‘skill-based art’ is independent of style directions but is the basis of visual quality.
This recapture can be supported by the exchange of knowledge, by the worldwide bundling of initiatives and know-how and by bringing artists together.
This can be done through the following initiatives:
– International exchange of exhibitions
– International exchange of art education
– International exchange of contacts and ideas