Well unfortunately I'm a critical thinker, I think, and I prefer rationalism, people love what is simple, and don't care to figure out what the complex stuff can apply to.
It's all about making life easier, and life will slap you far that. lol
Thinking will only get you so far, and emotion, the irrational, and the anti rational will get you the rest of the way. Do you ever notice how art, writing, poetry affect you sub consciously, and how the images will work their way into you consciousness because they trouble your emotions? What if the reverse is true, that before art can become art it must trouble the artist.
Let me give you an example. I went to the Chicago Institute of Art with wife, daughter and her Boy friend recently. I like art, and Van Goegh (sp) especially. But, walking around with my wife, either in the Surrealist, or modern art rooms I passed by a painting of a young teen looking girl sitting on a porch with one foot on the rail exposing her under pants to the artist. And I don't guess I have ever seen anything like it in an art museum because the subject, just like the artist was flaunting many conventions. And it happened, that in looking for the kids and then my wife that I walked by that same painting two or three more time, each time feeling more like a pervert, checking out the girls shorts and that -I dare you look on the girl's face. And I found it troubling, and I guess I still do. If it were my kid, I wouldn't want anyone looking up her skirt even if she was daring them too, and the artist must have found it troubling, or at least have felt that courage was demanded for the push back against morality. And yet I sensed in the face of the subject an enormous consciousness of the sexual power she possessed, to populate the world or strike terror into the hearts of men. She was not like some nude finding she had too little of hands and arms to cover her privates. She was intimidating. And the art was intimidating, and it told a story, and the story was bigger than just their story, and it was in a sense universal. Men would not feel the need to clip the wings of women in myriad ways were they not so powerful and so intimidating that bringing them down to earth seemed a virtue.
So. I am not saying people should not think about art. I think about art. I think about almost everything. But, it is because my emotions get snagged on everything that is rough, different, and out of place or time. And I trust it is true of all people that we are forced to think by what we feel, because in our rational world we knit up all the edges, and minimize contradictions; yet, in our emotions we often accept glaring contradictions, loving and hating the same person, doing again and again what does not satisfy, or what make us feel worse. And people live in their emotions, even while our relationships with others are guided by the strictures of rational thought, things like convention, or law, or doctrine.
When I did my year in the university, I was an English Major. I have given a lot of thought and reason to what makes art, and poetry. But, just as a wedge is driven into people by way of their emotions, as an end run around rational defenses, so the subject itself must be one that effects the emotions of the artist. If a subject does not command your emotions it will not command any other person's emotions; it will not enliven, enrage, entertain, or trouble. Artists should give much thought to their craft, the art of the artist. And the fact is that Van Goegh, for example, like Baudelaire as a poet, were both critics, and as such, philosophers of art, and to a certain extent, all artists are philosophers, because they dare to ask. What am I seeing. What am I feeling, and how can I convey, express, and communicate what I see and feel with my medium.
I could perhaps recommend some good books on art and criticism. But nothing is ever going to be better than life experience, finding what you like so you can reproduce it, and reading everything from technical manuals to myths. There is plenty of Shet to life. An artist has to be like that duck at the sewage treatment plant, living on the corn he could pick out of the crap. First learn to feel, and then learn to see, and then learn to express what you feel about what you see.