When you are in school and studying all the styles and the philosophies of art, you have the idea that there is a choice. The artist takes a little of this and a little of that and concocts his own style. Over the years his philosophy of art evolves and out of that philosophy comes his work.
It isn´t that way.
It is all UNCONSCIOUS.
He begins to work and corrects what he does because it troubles him—troubles him like an itch on his toe or a tiredness in his sitting posture. He works until the bother is gone. Afterwards he analyzes the results and makes a theory. He remembers the theory as he invents the next picture or statue, but it doesn´t affect the restlessness he feels as he works, that impatience to reach some precision that isn´t even known to his intellect.
That uneasiness, that squeamishness, is the artist in him, not the theory or even the intellectual who invented the theory.
“El ojo siempre busca lo malo,” my old sculptor master told me. The eye always “looks for”, always goes right to, the mistakes in a work. He was referring to the way anyone, the general public as well as the critic, looks at a finished work of art.
But it is the artist´s way as well. “I work on a picture,” said Degas, “until it stops bothering me.”