My creative flames are fanned by…
The people who inspire me most are…
What sets my life on fire
Your task: Do one, some, all, or none of these prompts, as you wish.
I love watching artists work.
It doesn’t matter if their choice of materials are ones that I would use, or if their finished product is anything I would want to attempt.
When familiarity with the methods and materials is evident, when movements flow and a plan seems in place, I want to watch. The artist could be sitting at a potter’s wheel or a sewing machine, wielding a paint brush or a hammer, filling a paper with lines or a whole wall with color…I’m in.
When I was a small child, there was a person on television that drew on a glass surface with a grease pencil. Like magic, his images came together! No scratching of graphite on paper, no pausing to think where the next mark should be placed, no erasing. I could have watched all day! Later, sketch artists held the same fascination for me. On the streets or in the courthouse, they brought likenesses to the page seemingly without thought or consideration, just action.
In the 1989 film, New York Stories, one segment had Nick Nolte playing an obsessive, moody and well-received artist. He wasn’t a particularly likable character, until he started painting. He used a metal trash can lid as a palette; his canvasses were huge; when he was working, nothing else got in the way. Then, I loved him.
There are films of Jackson Pollack working on his large drip paintings that give me the same feeling: he has a direction and he follows it. He’s in the flow. That’s what I like to see.
I recently purchased the entire PBS Art21 series on DVD. Some episodes are wonderful, with artists intent on getting their message out there, messily, crazily, passionately. Others are more cerebral: they talk about their work as an abstract concept, an organized series of procedures. The intensity is missing. However beautiful the finished product, it needs to also carry the passion and soul of its creator.
Maybe, in a gallery setting, away from the artist and the process, the difference wouldn’t be visible…but I feel like I’d know.
When I want inspiration, I look to those people who throw themselves whole-heartedly into their work. Then I throw myself into mine.