Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Warm Thoughts from Indoors

Down in the garden, there's a blackbird valiantly pecking at the seed in an effort to get as much of it as he can before the snow covers it all up. Outside my upstairs study window, the snow is swirling and billowing, and inside the study there's me, thinking.

I sometimes wonder whether I think because I'm not painting, or I don't paint because I'm thinking. Either way, I'm thinking. What I really need to do, however, is write down what I'm thinking. There are connections being made, plans formulating and possibilities being explored, but all of this is internalised. It needs to be put on paper so that I can see where it might lead, so that's what I'll be doing for the next hour or two.

As is usual with these thinkfests of mine, there's a book driving me on. This time it's Eric Maisel's Creativity for Life, a book that pulls together some of Maisel's previously expressed views and turns them into an encouraging overview of the problems faced peculiarly by artists. There are exercises at the end of each chapter which, on a quick skim last night, suggest ways I might be able to get my act more securely together than it feels at present.

Whether or not I'd be better off painting than thinking is somewhat irrelevant. It was quite nightmarish trying to get down the backstairs to give the birds their cold weather rations; I'm not sure I fancy shuffling down again to get to the studio. Blimey. I might never get back up again until the thaw!

Speaking as someone born in the historic winter of 1947, I remember much, much worse snow than what we've got now. We really have forgotten how to deal with snow in this country, haven't we?


Eric said...
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harry bell said...

Which sketch is that, Eric? Thanks for the New Year wishes. The same to you (or must that be u and urs?), but I think I'll save my money.

April Jarocka said...

That book sounds good Harry...have missed your tweets but if you're in your study thinking and reading, that explains things. Hoping that you are keeping well friend.

harry bell said...

Thanks, April. Now that the thaw has set in and I can get to the studio without the prospect of breaking a leg, all I have to do is fight off my second cold of the year, and I'll maybe be able to get back to something approaching normal.

Sheila Vaughan said...

Harry, yes, the bit about thinking and not painting etc. I have been writing down what I have been thinking, reviewing and planning about my painting activity for around two years now. It amuses me to read back at my very strong intentions and realise how much they were built on sand when I thought they were built on concrete, laugh out loud. I have recently been dipping into the Art Spirit again (Robert Henri). I love what he says on pg 193: "I think your only salvation is in finding yourself, and you will never find yourself unless you quit preconceiving what you will be when you have found yourself". It's a kind of liberating thought that one isn't it. By the way, the recent charcoal drawing is wonderful, so Hopper like.

harry bell said...

Thanks, Sheila. I kept a similar journal for many years before I ever plucked up courage to put paint on canvas. My ideas about what I would paint when I began painting are laughable. Henri has it spot on.