Originally Blogging the Artist's Way. Thoughts, musings, experience of the 12-week course, January to March 2006. And after that?.... Life, creativity, writing. Where does it all meet? Here, perhaps.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Sunday Scribblings ..... Art

This week's prompt from Sunday Scribblings is a little word, and a tall order... gather together and articulate something in writing about art. That's Art. Or is is art? The capital letter makes a difference. Julia Cameron made the point very well in The Artist's Way. When we think of Art with a capital A, it's important, serious, something that Professional or Trained or Talented Artists do. People who are "not like me", in other words. The world is full of people who are utterly convinced that they "can't" draw, paint or make other art, and what they really mean when they say things like that is that they can't do it as well as "Those other people... Real Artists", and what that really, really means (in part) is not that they can't, but that they feel they can't, and because they feel they can't they aren't going to try, because that's pointless, because they can't. There are a multitude of books out there that can help people get over that block, through that thinking, and into making the kind of art they will enjoy, the kind of art that's not meant to be judged against anything else, that is art for its own sake - but that will sometimes turn out surprisingly to be more than you'd expected to be able to produce. I just love the attitude Julia Cameron encourages - one of "gentle exploration", as in, if I just start playing around with these coloured pencils, and enjoy doodling with them, and let myself not have expectations as to outcome, what might happen?...

I will always suggest The Artist's Way first to anyone who has the urge towards making art, but I recognise that it doesn't suit everyone. Well, then, there's Eric Maisel's many books. I was fascinated by what happened when I started following Betty Edward's "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain". The exercises there had me drawing in ways I never had before. Not perfectly, by anyone's standards, but joyously, happily. There's a website here called Everyone Can Draw.

Sunday Scribblings is a strange thing. I didn't intend to write in that vein at all when I began. I just wandered into it. I intended to write a bit about what other people's art does for me. And maybe I didn't go in that direction because so often I find myself speechless and filled with responses for which there are no words when I meet art. - "Real" art, as in galleries and museums. I have been so lucky, so blessed in being able to meet the work of artists that touch me deeply, that delight me or move me, and I'm not sure how to fit it all in here. So I'll just stay with the most recent things that have touched me.

In Buenos Aires, during my Christmas visit to my son, coming into the Museo de Belles Artes, the first object to catch my eye was Rodin's The Kiss. Familiar from pictures, and yet a whole new experience to come upon it "in the flesh".

I loved that museum. There were European artists a-plenty there, modern and classical. Rich bounty of art. And then, the South American artists, many of whom I'd never encountered before. This one took my breath away, in part because the image echoed a dream I'd had around the time of my mother's death - the black egg: This is by Leonor Fini.

Close by, I encountered this:

The artist is called Varo, and it's entitled "Feeding Stars to the Moon" or Celestial Pablum. I laughed aloud. The idea!

I'm sorry.... These are snippets, mere glances, of a few hours of abundance, riches, beyond anything I can really describe. I wasn't very good at recording names and dates. (OK... I wasn't good at all... I didn't do it). I came away with impressions, memories... full, sated. Aaaah!

And then... within a few days of that experience, I found myself doing two things I'd long wished for... Visiting MOMA in New York, and seeing an exhibition of some of Van Gogh's major paintings, including two Starry Nights. It just happened. My layover on the way home was long enough for a trip into the city, and I got in a taxi and asked to be taken to the Museum of Modern Art. That's the only place I visited. I just got so lucky that the Van Gogh exhibit, Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night, was still running. It was closing 3 days later. I just walked through there soaking those paintings up. That was where I missed having someone with me, someone to share the experience, so I just enthused to whatever stranger happened to be nearby instead. Well... I'd have burst if I didn't! All around me, I could hear people making their comments, and there were plenty of really well-trained eyes there, obviously. Parents educated their children about the technicalities of the techniques he used, urged them to observe the effect of this or that. I just loved hearing all the intakes of breath, the murmurs of "amazing..."

I needed air, space, a little quiet time to bring myself back from that place, and readiness to go back onto the street, back into traffic and "reality", and the perfect bridge was a turn around MOMA's sculpture garden. A wonder in itself, containing wonders. [You can see how inarticulate I get in the face of art, can't you?!]

I came home with a sense of having been blessed in so many ways. Blessed with good fortune.

This post has become way, way too long. I was going to write about and post some photos of what local primary-school children did as an installation in celebration of the sweets (candy) made at a local factory, but I've discovered that there's a lovely description on one of the school's websites HERE... The Sweet Fantastic. Enjoy!

This post is in celebration of Art as prompted by Sunday Scribblings. Go HERE to see what others have offered!
Also, I'm participating in One World, One Heart again this year. Here's the post with my giveaway, if you'd like to take part. There's still time... Any comments up to midnight (GMT) 11th February will be included.

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At 6/2/09 1:59 pm, Blogger Shyam said...

I've been to MOMA once, and was lucky enough to see selected paintings from European artists... wish I could visit NY more often!

What you said about people not trying art because they think they can't - that resonated with me.

At 6/2/09 8:40 pm, Blogger Judy Merrill-Smith said...

I was talking about The Artist's Way with a friend yesterday, and am musing about writing morning pages again.... I call myself an artist, but often still have that nagging little voice in my head proclaiming that I'm not a Real Artist. Sometimes I chuckle, sometimes I frown. I suspect it'll always be a bit of a struggle, but I continue on nonetheless. Your scribblings are meandering and wonderful -- and I think one of the wonders of art is that it does leaves us a bit incoherent sometimes!

At 6/2/09 8:46 pm, Blogger terri said...

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is such a good book! And I've used some of those techniques to talk about mindfulness with clients. Great stuff. Thanks!

At 7/2/09 1:46 am, Blogger ell said...

I agree that there's nothing quite like seeing a piece of art, as you say, in the flesh. I always imagine the artist's hands on the actual sculpture or canvas. I could spend days and days at MOMA!

p.s. A few blogs back, I awarded you a Van Gogh's Ear. I love your blog. :)

At 7/2/09 2:02 am, Blogger Fledgling Poet said...

The Artist's Way is a fantastic's been years since I read it and I should probably revisit it again...I loved reading about your love and enthusiasm for art. The paintings you posted were stunning, especially the one with the moon being fed stars!

At 7/2/09 2:21 pm, Blogger myrtle beached whale said...

Great post. But you are wrong about one thing. I really can't draw. Not even well enough to play pictionary.

At 7/2/09 4:36 pm, Blogger gautami tripathy said...

Beautiful post. I am gonna check out those links..

rough drafting of art

At 7/2/09 5:20 pm, Blogger Pretty Me!! said...

I am not much into paintings.. but your post did kept me hooked !! i intend to start sketching or painting... glad i read this :)

At 7/2/09 9:54 pm, Blogger floreta said...

captivating read!! i have read about halfway of "The Artists Way". I love what she teaches. It's a shame that "real" art has to be differentiated from art because art has no boundaries. I hate the elitism culture of this so-called real art. i like the south american painters.. thanks for sharing! there is an underground movement of do it yourself "DIY" artists.. their aesthetics and unconventional painting has caught the eye of many.. is this "real" art, when they are not formally trained but so good at their craft? i watched a documentary about a southern (black) artist called "Mr. Dial Has Something to Say".. it was very interesting and talked about the politics of real art vs. "Outsider" art, or art outside of the elite community. A lot of black artists are shunned just because they're black, which is unfortunate, and esp. that some painters have taken-"borrowed"-concepts for their art from african culture (Picasso has some african qualities in his art). Anyway, it was a FASCINATING documentary.. Sorry for the long comment, but you've thoroughly inspired me.. :)

At 7/2/09 10:26 pm, Blogger danni said...

my art is not the stuff of which galleries are made, either, but i do enjoy trying in my own way --- meanwhile i let my words do the artistic work for me --- i so enjoyed the tour you took me on here, and the chance to see celestial pablum in particular --- wonderful post - thank you for sharing!!!

At 8/2/09 1:22 am, Blogger Lilibeth said...

I loved almost all of those. Rodin has always been one of my favorites and anyone who can make rock look like flesh is a genius in my book. The guy feeding stars to the moon just cries for a story. The only one that wasn't attractive to me was the stiff-looking lady with the egg suspended over her lap. I like more subtle declarations. Probably, someone loves it..and the background wasn't too bad, come to think of it. Actually, I haven't a right to criticize, since I can't do any of it.

At 8/2/09 1:52 am, Blogger Tammie Lee said...

I love the images you shared of the S.American artists, especially: feeding the moon stars.Art is a big word, so many thoughts, opinions and feelings around it. For me life is art alive. I loved reading your post and pondering your words.
also; I would like to thank you for being my first commenter one year ago today, on my blog. It is my anniversary and you left such a warm and welcoming comment that a shy part of me breathed a sigh of release and felt as though blogging would be a wonderful adventure. Deep appreciation I send to you!

At 8/2/09 5:42 am, Anonymous Cam said...

So lucky to have seen all that art in the flesh!
I am also one of those artists who doesn't think they are a Real Artist.

At 8/2/09 2:46 pm, Blogger Distressing Delilah a.k.a. jenn said...

Lucky you! i love Auguste Rodins' The Kiss!

At 8/2/09 3:00 pm, Blogger Linda Jacobs said...

Wow, I really enjoyed reading this post! I've read Julia Cameron's book and loved it, too. I'm more into word art but recently been having fun with altered books and art journals. And I never thought I could!

At 8/2/09 3:31 pm, OpenID bellamocha said...

I've haven't been to MOMA yet but hope to- plan to- very soon. It should be compulsory, at leats for those in easy distance of it!

What an amazing post- I have learned so much be reading here...I am not 'an artist'- A Real Artist!, as you will have read on mine (thank you for commenting)but your scribblings have really encouraged me to to see myself as one- there are so many variables after all!

But I've loved reading about Van Gogh here...and the I love the 2nd painting of his, which I've never seen before. You've really inspired me to go and find out more about him, see more of his works.

I'm so glad I stopped by! Happy Sunday, and I'll be back.
Bella :)

At 8/2/09 3:31 pm, OpenID bellamocha said...

I've haven't been to MOMA yet but hope to- plan to- very soon. It should be compulsory, at leats for those in easy distance of it!

What an amazing post- I have learned so much be reading here...I am not 'an artist'- A Real Artist!, as you will have read on mine (thank you for commenting)but your scribblings have really encouraged me to to see myself as one- there are so many variables after all!

But I've loved reading about Van Gogh here...and the I love the 2nd painting of his, which I've never seen before. You've really inspired me to go and find out more about him, see more of his works.

I'm so glad I stopped by! Happy Sunday, and I'll be back.
Bella :)

At 8/2/09 3:35 pm, OpenID bellamocha said...

Oh, and I love that Varo painting...I'm so curious about it now! I mean, it's crazy but adorable at the same time.
Just had to add that!
Bella :)

At 8/2/09 6:24 pm, Blogger Tumblewords: said...

Julia Cameron encouraged/es many people to live their art - regardless of style. There is so much beautiful wonderful artwork in the world and it comes in little pieces, in out of the way spots and along the roadside as well as in the uber museums. I loved MOMA and the Louvre...years ago, in my other world. Great post and link!

At 8/2/09 11:02 pm, Blogger Marguerite said...

I really enjoyed your post. I'm convinced there are many talented people who never try because they are convinced they can't draw, write, whatever. I've never read Julia Cameron's book, but it sounds like one I might need to get my hands on.

P.S. Thanks for visiting my blog. And, no need to apologize--I thought the dumpster incident was pretty funny myself.

At 9/2/09 10:32 pm, Blogger Tammy said...

HUGS Imelda,
What beautiful sights you have seen and I do agree with The Artist's Way. When are you coming back to California? :)

At 10/2/09 3:38 am, Anonymous gel(Emerald Eyes) said...

I liked learning from Betty Edwards. Oh, that Rodin in person, I would be in heaven! You are also a lucky duck to have seen VG @MOMA. I've been to MOMA but not for that exhibition.
Your entire post is interesting and well-done. Wish you had somone to share your enthusiasm with. Next time, give me a ring and I'll meet you (if it's in the USA)

Oh, to the poet in me, the word verification below is "verses!"

At 12/2/09 5:43 pm, Anonymous Penny said...

I have the Artist's Way but still need to finish reading! I love the writing three pages a day thing. Lovely paintings!


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