I earlier mentioned, off-the cuff, accident in experience in the previous post on "unintentional photography." I take this more seriously, however, or try to. This is extracted from a published essay on intelligence in the practice of art as providing an element neglected by philosophers and those who study the nature of scientific inquiry. See what you make of it:
The logic of artistic construction is first an "independent qualitative apprehension" in which “the underlying quality demands certain distinctions, and the degree in which the demand is met confers upon the work of art that necessary or inevitable character which is its mark. Formal necessities, such as can be made explicit, depend upon the material necessity imposed by the pervasive and underlying quality." (Dewey).
Note the similarity in one painter's words: regarding his abstractions, Joan Miró maintained that "a few forms suggested here would call for other forms elsewhere to balance them. These in turn demanded others. It seemed interminable." In regard to the practice of art, thinking renders the qualitative background the objective material of which properties such as harmony, unity, and so on may be predicated. This mode of constructive experience takes the relational for the concrete in that the insistence of the qualitative impels the activity by which elements in a work are brought together.
In terms of artists, this world is one in which they are "absorbed in laboring with material… live in a world of change and matter, even when their labors have an end in manifestation of form." (Dewey). Picasso put this idea similarly in terms of painting, "a picture is not thought out and settled beforehand. While it is being done it changes as one's thoughts change. And when it is finished, it still goes on changing, according to the state of mind of whoever is looking at it. A picture lives a life like a living creature, undergoing the changes imposed on us by our life from day to day."
This sort of engagement testifies to the liveliness of those things through which and with which artists work and play. In other words, it is both testimony to a receptivity to the accidental and the uncontrolled and, in the case of both artworks and the ordinary, to the opening of this receptivity to the viewer. I can only suggest here that in some practices of art, the element of accident is one whose representations do not point necessarily to anything beyond the works, but to other elements in the work itself (to take up the vantage of the observer). It is in this sense that the observer may be drawn repeatedly back into the work (as well as beyond it, given other elements in the work; or back into it, given intentionally self-referential elements).
The logic of artistic construction, so to speak, is less a strict logic than it is allowing one's temporary ends or ends-in-view to be reconstituted by the activity in which one is engaged and the materials with which one does this activity. The artist (and observer, for Picasso), in this sense, is engaged in partially impulsive responses to concrete, dynamic situations. Certainly, the press of facts controls the direction of one's activity, but in that our own artistic activities are foiled by the accidental, the character of our end products looks much less like the success of directed operations and more like an ability to come to terms with and rejoice in resistances and redirections. This coming to terms by an artist is, I think, a form of instrumentalization of accident. But we can only say so either retrospectively or preparatorily, the latter being an artist’s willingness to allow the future not to resemble the past.