Artistic process: demystifying art-making

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
In the visual arts field there remains a mystique around artistic process that suggests that success relies on an individual’s tapping into his/her intuitive genius. Artistic process, beyond technical craftsmanship, is not something that is dealt with piece-by-piece, aspect-by-aspect. Art educators struggle for a curriculum that incorporates structure while maintaining artistic individuality. This study turns to the revolution in the teaching of writing that occurred in the 70’s in which an approach was adopted that delved into the actual process of writing rather than teaching the mechanics around writing. Educators in the field came to recognize common, tangible key elements used by authors that continually re-emerged as they worked. Writing process became definable in manageable, recognizable, teachable components. Four fundamental skills of writing process (discovering the subject, sensing an audience, searching for specifics and creating a design) as defined by Murray (1968, 1990) and redefined by Mamchur (2004) are examined in this study to determine if they are also present and recognizable in the visual arts process. Archival research of writings by and about practising writers and visual artists speaking about their process revealed that the four skills were present and recognizable to the degree that it was possible to select quotes from the works of both that amply represented all four aspects of artistic process as defined in this study. A Case study demonstrated that the four skills were observable and evidenced in the artistic process of a successful artist as he prepared for an exhibition in his studio. And finally, an arts-based research study of my artistic process provided insight into how the creative writing model was used by this artist as a tool for critiquing and informing her artistic process, particularly during revision. As a tool, the discreet aspects of process (discovering the subject, sensing the audience, searching for specifics, creating a design) could provide educators with a comprehensive framework for examining and teaching artistic process. The ability to name and intellectually address discreet aspects of process could enable artists to gain insight into the mystery of creating and bring them closer to producing satisfying work.
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author.
The author has not granted permission for the file to be printed nor for the text to be copied and pasted. If you would like a printable copy of this thesis, please contact
Scholarly level
Member of collection
Download file Size
etd2911.pdf 19.58 MB

Views & downloads - as of June 2023

Views: 41
Downloads: 2