Saturday, 6 November 2010

challenge or arena?

Someone suggested to me recently that I had perceived the challenges of the art world so acutely when I was younger that they had overwhelmed me to the point of being unable to work. In contrast to now, where I can read about the life of someone like Matisse, and simply find it interesting (and, actually, somewhat bizarre)...

This remark seemed to contain something of wider relevance, particularly in relation to one of the key focuses of this blog, which is exploring the nature of blocks to productivity. A number of the people I know seem, secretly, and at a very deep, important level of themselves, to want to make music, draw, write poetry, weave colours etc. And yet mostly, we haven't done these things. Not only have we not done them, but the not doing seems to have done nothing to banish the instinct, the yearning, even over many, many years.

We talked yesterday at our Artist's Way group (report on which to follow soon) about the link between how you think about what you're about to do and what then happens. Not in the sense of becoming embroiled in an intellectual discussion as an excuse for not getting round to actually doing something, but in the way that Betty Edwards describes in Drawing on the right side of the brain. She suggests that people who are not experienced tend to draw what they think a nose or an eye or a vase looks like, rather than properly looking and actually seeing the way that a nose is formed by the falling of light and shadow. Similarly, does the way we see or think about what we want to do creatively actually determine the outcome?

The shift from seeing art as an insurmountable challenge to seeing it as an arena for exploration seems to have changed everything for me. I don't think I've made the shift with music, though, which is equally important to me, and which I'm currently unable to handle....

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