Intuition in Composition: A Topic I Will Never Debate
I occasionally get emails and messages on Facebook from artists who claim that they can successfully compose their artwork intuitively. In fact, I received one yesterday. The artist's argument was that design happens "naturally." Of course, I strongly disagreed. While I have always believed that intuition does play a significant role in one's style, the artist that neglects to study and apply solid design principles to their art will always pay the price regardless if they draw, paint, or take photographs.
In my experience, the artist that claims that they are "gifted" with the the ability to compose intuitively will state that "there is no evidence that master artists of the past used formal design to create their art." However, this statement simply isn't true. While there is a lot of clues available for the visually literate artist, the so-called "gifted" artist can't see or interpret what they are looking at because they haven't obtained the necessary skills to be able to read a work of art.
The truth is, if I wanted to get into a long-winded debate on the topic, I could easily argue the fact that there is no evidence that suggests a masterpiece can be created by artists that design intuitively. After all, my argument is just as valid - if not more so. Nonetheless, rather than waste my time trying to persuade the artist that has no desire to learn or progress, I would rather walk away peacefully. It's safer for them, and it's safer for me.
“Instinctive art without mental control is bound to fail." - Jay Hambidge