Saturday, January 30, 2010

Inspiration's lineage: the discipline of play

To many teachers, this picture might well represent the ideal student that they have never before seen. Eager, empty and knowing it, friendly, waiting to be filled with knowledge. HAHAHAHA. Dream on teacher friends!

The figure in the painting represents a muse and the conceptual problem with it is the same as the basic conceptual problem with many folks notion of education. The muse has appeared at a light source, removed the top of his head, and is indicating to the unknown source to "Fill 'er up!" Presumably, the muse will the travel to artists and musicians etc  in need of inspiration.  Then the muse will pour off a bit of inspiration into their heads....

But the world really doesn't work this way nor does education. Getting inspired, getting an idea, and getting educated are not passive activities.  They require preparation and effort, though the spark may come at a moment when the prep has paused.....   You have to have been entertaining various notions for a new one to pop into your head.  Reading or looking or thinking or writing or painting or playing generally happens first, usually on a regular basis. So this is another way of saying that inspiration is often the result of that boring old thing: discipline, even if it is a discipline of regular mental play.....  (hmm some irony there)

ABOUT THE PAINTING: This painting of mine is an oil on canvas which went to Cape Coral Florida with Sharon and Jim Houston many years ago,  I don't know where they are now, or if some hurricane has destroyed the canvas or if they sold it in some weekend garage sale.  Or if they are even still alive or have moved to god knows what state. I was known as Misti in those days, and that is how I signed this painting. This picture was scanned in from an old snap-shot.

-- M.M. (Mar) Walker