It’s a snowy April day here where I live. A perfect day to sit down with a coffee and do some research. I’m getting back to a book I started a couple of weeks ago: Reading Cy Twombly Poetry in Paint by Mary Jacobus (Princeton University Press, 2016).
I love Twombly’s uninhibited scribbles and his use of text and writing. He drew inspiration from poetry. In the book Twombly is quoted “I like poets because I can find a condensed phrase…I always look for the phrase.” (p.3) Traditional poetry is not something I have used, but I do mine song lyrics. I connect with a phrase from a song and it becomes the catalyst for a work or a series of work. A small notebook is always in my bag to write down the names of songs, a lyric, or an artist to look up later. I have many sketchbooks filled with pieces of songs (usually more songs than sketches!). Some I go back to over and over again.
Moving from language as inspiration to using text or writing in my work is a new challenge. Seeing how other artists use words and language is part of figuring out what I connect with, and to give some direction to my experimentation. I recently saw work by Tacita Dean at a local art gallery. I loved the handwritten words in the pieces. (and, surprise, surprise, the black and white palette drew me in as well 🙂 )
It seems I always have at least a half dozen ideas floating around in my head about where I can go with my work. Research is the next step to solidifying those ideas and we’ll see where it takes me.
Author Elizabeth Gilbert talks about inspiration in her book Big Magic (2015). In it she says inspiration will find you and jump around trying to get your attention but if it doesn’t succeed, it will fly off and find someone else. You may only realize it’s gone when you finally get around to the idea and find the originating creative spark is gone.
In my last post I wrote that I successfully completed my final portfolio review for my visual arts certificate (YAY!). My graduating solo show will be the first two weeks of October. In my review one of the preceptors asked what I planned to do next. My answer involved expansion of themes I have touched on in my work to date, and hopefully finally figuring out Photoshop (I know it’s a great tool but it’s complicated and I have limited amounts of patience!)
About a month later I went for a walk in the river valley. I am lucky to live somewhere where I can easily get onto trails and into nature. On this walk I looked down on the breaking ice and thought wow look at those beautiful marks, and inspiration showed up and started jumping around. I took some photos thinking they might be good grounds for future work (you know, when I finally figure out Photoshop). A few days later I remembered Elizabeth Gilbert’s take on inspiration and sat down to look at the photos. More inspiration! I spent many happy hours this week playing with them and going back into the river valley with new eyes. I can’t say it’s doing much for my fitness level, as I keep stopping to take photos, but I am excited by this new direction. Here is a selection of my recent work: