5 mins

Cartoon view of Medieval Art

Roz Chast takes us through her favourite type of art at the Met – Medieval paintings.  She has a distinctive eye and commentary.

 

Roz brings her humour to the pictures and a strong sense of where the artist is not quite sure if they’re good enough to draw certain parts of the picture – and how they cope with that.

The general effect is of going around a gallery with a witty companion who makes you snigger and yet wonder – but not be overawed by the art – to still see it as paintings done by humans, with very ordinary human concerns, as well as a sense of the exalted (most art of the time illustrates religious, biblical themes).

 

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Getting in Creative Flow – Stephan Pastis

Cartoonist Stephan Pastis tells us (in under 3 minutes) how he gets in the creative flow for his work:

He noticed that when he writes emails, he can’t do it when there’s music playing – so worked out that his reasoning mind is shut off by the music.  So, to use the other side of the brain, the imaginative, he can close off the logical by playing that same music.

He reckons he writes his cartoon strip in an odd way – but lists the elements:

Creative Process

  1.  I put on headphones, I listen to music very loud and I dance around for an hour
  2. I draw on the walls
  3. I make a lot of coffee
  4. and incense
  5. there’s a mirror on a door and I look at myself a lot

Creative Flow

Stephan compares it to balancing or floating – it’s a state you get into – not something you tense up and push your way into.  He doesn’t try to think his way into what is funny – in fact, he does the opposite by switching off the logical part of his brain through the loud music.

 

Incentive

In a separate video, he says that he has no Plan B if being a cartoonist doesn’t work out.  Previously, he was a lawyer, but hated his work.  Perhaps that thought helps him concentrate.

He genuinely enjoys the writing process – it’s like fishing, he says, you’re looking for that bite, that great idea.

 

Creative Takeaway for us:

Look at Stephan’s creative process, try and find what is healthy and yet works to free up your/my creative minds.

 

 

 

LifeBOOK: “Gee’s Bend: the Architecture of the Quilt”

 

Some books are fictional, some are what I’m going to call LifeBOOKs – books which help you read life.  Books you remember because they open doors, open eyes, make you see and understand things you didn’t before you opened the covers.  I hope to pull some of these down off my shelves and review them now and then.

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Patchwork: Gee’s Bend

After all the fuss about the glorious 1950s abstract paintings was waning, someone got around to recognising the same style in patchwork quilts made by black ladies in Alabama, at Gee’s Bend, for basic human survival.

 

These quilts are perfect material to cover in this blog – they were made for real life, to keep out the cold in uninsulated buildings; they were made from scraps and offcuts; they were made in the small amount of time women had from family and farming duties.  But they were made bold and beautiful and not prissied up.

One of the favourite books I have is a large format (almost impossible to shelve) book of their designs: “Gee’s Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt” edited by Paul Arnett.  I just opened it to take some snaps to show what I meant – but I think that’s going to have to be a separate blog post.