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What inspires you?

December 26, 2011

Sketchbook drawing of multiple squares with different patterns

Rollo May inspires me. In The Courage to Create, he talks about the role that artists play in helping society to adapt to change. He says:

“In our day, technology and engineering, diplomacy, business, and certainly teaching, all of these professions and scores of others are in the midst of radical change and require courageous persons to appreciate and direct this change. The need for creative courage is in direct proportion to the degree of change the profession is undergoing.

But those who present directly and immediately the new forms and symbols are the artists—the dramatists, the musicians, the painters, the dancers, the poets, and those poets of the religious sphere we call saints.  They portray the new symbols in the form of images—poetic, aural, plastic, or dramatic, as the case may be. They live out their imaginations. The symbols only dreamt about by most human beings are expressed in graphic form by the artists. But in our appreciation of the created work—let us say a Mozart quintet—we also are performing a creative art. When we engage a painting, which we have to do especially with modern art if we are authentically to see it, we are experiencing some new moment of sensibility. Some new vision is triggered in us by our contact with the painting; something unique is born in us. This is why the appreciation of the music or painting or other works of the creative person is also a creative act on our part.” (p. 15-16)

So, if and when, as an abstract artist, you might be thinking that you are not fulfilling a larger purpose in our cultural consciousness, read some Rollo May. I do…and it reminds me that those nebulous forms I am working with in my paintings might be tapping into a sensibility that I can’t verbalize.

Having said all that, I’m back to the next step in my painting that I talked about in my last post. Here it is again. I turned it sideways (it seemed to help) and started trying to define the areas that I thought had some promise. This has been a slow week with me mostly just having a great Christmas…and NOT getting much further along on this canvas.

acrylic painting with checkerboard theme in centerThe next version of the checkerboard painting (acrylic)

This was last week’s version, turned sideways, followed by this week’s version. This painting, in case I forgot to mention it, is acrylic, 30×40 inches. I’m not sure what I will do next, but I think it needs some additional checkerboard shapes for it to make sense.

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