Thursday, June 23, 2016

sharpened focus: inspiration

Sculpture by Modigliani at PSAM  
During a recent trip to Southern California, I was delighted to attend "A Passionate Eye: the Weiner Family Collection" at the Palm Springs Art Museum. The sculpture above was one of many stunning pieces collected by Ted and Lucile Weiner of Fort Worth, Texas. There's some talk among the museum docents that the collection may end up at PSAM permanently. What a treasure!

I spent a long time with the Modigliani sculpture. As I looked at it, I wondered about the artist. He was a painter, but for five years, he worked as a sculptor. It's possible that he was discouraged from exploring further with sculpture because of scarce supplies in the years prior to World War I. But, even so, he studied sculpture with Brancusi (another favorite of mine) for a year! He went back to painting, but his habits of drink and drugs, and disease cut short his life at just 35 years.

Experiment. Try new things. Through yourself into it wholly. That's what I see, what I feel from the Modigliani piece.

And why not?

Inspiration feels like a sharpened focus. All of my senses are dialed in. I'm sure I have seen these pieces by Franz Kline many times before, but this time, I was fascinated by them. How bold! How perfectly composed!

Paintings by Franz Kline at Palm Springs Art Museum

Even outside the museum, I felt that sharpness as I looked at other things:

the tender green leaves on the Ocotillo.

the symmetry of the Agave

the surprising outbursts of Prickly Pear flowers

Those feelings of delight and focus are what I bring in to the studio now that I am home. My first experiment is with alcohol inks on Yupo. Why not? I am not nearly as invested in the outcome as I am in the process. It is the process of creativity and inspiration. It feels like LIFE to me.

Alcohol ink on Yupo (synthetic paper)

"Crazy" Diana Krall.