Hello <<First Name>>,
I’m delighted to share this May 2016 edition of Arts Awareness E-Newsletter with you. I sincerely hope you find it helpful as you play an active role in all your creative efforts. Please feel free to share it with others who might be interested, and if you know someone who may want to receive this newsletter monthly, please let them know how to sign up through www.artsawareness.com.
How Do Artists Do That?
Have you ever wondered where artists get their ideas? What might seem like a mystery is actually thinking that comes from life experiences, feelings, and the environment. Everyone can learn to use this sort of creative thinking. Openness and curiosity allow you to see beyond what you logically observe and give you the opportunity to see and feel and know new things. These are real benefits of the artistic process—mental dexterity and the chance to see things in new ways. It’s thinking that opens the door to new methods of problem-solving and more flexible approaches to visualizing and realizing your dreams.
Art is not a thing, it is a way.
~ Elbert Hubbard
Sculptor Andy Goldsworthy not only gets his ideas from his surroundings, but he creates works of art in the environment out of things like flowers, stones, pinecones, icicles, leaves, and twigs. He takes stunning photographs of his works before they disappear, or as they disappear, due to nature’s normal recycling process. Here, you can see a few color photographs of his natural sculptures—Andy Goldsworthy.
Claude Debussy, an impressionist composer, was inspired by nature, other arts, and the orient. He was especially fascinated by the sea and wrote the tone poem La Mer to depict the waves and winds and natural elements of the ocean. The names of the three movements—"From Dawn to Midday on the Sea," "Play of Waves," and "Dialog of the Wind and the Sea"—give the listener verbal suggestions to stimulate their own sense of imagery and experience of the sea. All three movements of the twenty-four-minute work are performed here by the Philharmonia orchestra conducted by Herbert von Karajan.
Take a walk.
Stimulate your creative consciousness in everyday activities.
Walking inspires artists of all kinds—from painters to dancers to writers to composers. Whether it’s a focus on the movement of your body, the pace, the sounds, the images, or a combination, many artists have discovered a deep, intuitive connection between walking, thinking, and creating.
Listen to the sounds and adjust your pace as you walk. What do you feel, hear, and see? Can you find and experiment with the prevailing rhythm of your steps and the sounds around you? Many composers take a daily walk to keep ideas flowing. Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and Mahler, for example, used their walks to generate ideas that they later developed into compositions.
Find time for reflection.
Move outside of your comfort zone and open your mind to new ideas and beliefs. With reflective practice you keep learning. You become more aware, and you are better able to understand yourself and those around you.
Taylor Swift observed this quality in Madonna’s performances over time—“One element of Madonna's career that really takes center stage is how many times she's reinvented herself. It's easier to stay in one look, one comfort zone, one musical style. It's inspiring to see someone whose only predictable quality is being unpredictable.”
And even Peanuts character Lucy van Pelt encouraged Charlie Brown and Linus to consider different ways of thinking—“Aren't the clouds beautiful? They look like big balls of cotton. I could just lie here all day and watch them drift by. If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud's formations. What do you think you see, Linus?”
Redesign spaces in your home.
Consider all the ways you could rearrange the furniture in your living room and other spaces indoors and out. Artists tend to be open to unconventional design in their homes. Painter Piet Mondrian viewed his studio as an embodiment of his artistic identity as well as a place where his ideas came to fruition. At one point in his life, he is said to have tacked up large rectangular placards, each in a single color or neutral hue. Smaller colored paper squares and rectangles, composed together, accented the walls. He tacked and re-tacked them to the walls, repositioning them at various times in ever-changing relationships that inspired his work. The painting above is one of the earliest in Mondrian’s career. It’s the first painting in which he implemented his color palette of red, blue and yellow—the three primary colors. At this point in his career, the image is clearly a representational form of a tree. Although it is a simple landscape, his aesthetic style is already present in both the simple design and the abstraction of the color of the tree.
To practice any art, no matter how well or badly,
is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.
~ Kurt Vonnegut
Artists explore their inner and outer worlds with curiosity. They make note of what they find and use it to create new experiences and works of art. If you’re proactive and embrace your curiosity, you can find your own creative voice through everyday activities. Once you experience its benefits, it will ignite your passion for lifelong learning. The experiences will provide you with skills to adapt to the uncertainty of this changing world, and you will create like an artist.