Today’s creative prompt is “cold” – my creative response is cooking a garlic mushroom macaroni cheese, recipe courtesy of the fantastically named food blog “Amuse Your Bouche”.
As made by “Amuse Your Bouche” on her blog
Here’s the story….. today being a crisp, autumnal day, I visited my favourite cafe at an art gallery (what’s not to like). However, today I had no lunchtime companion – and I’ve discovered that the number one rule of an enjoyable eating experience, as laid down by food critic Jay Rayner in an earlier post is true….. i.e. have a good eating companion to hand.
So, I dashed home with the aim to recreate the cafe’s glorious smell and sight of plates piled high with “garlic mushroom ‘n’ mac”. A google search later, right off the bat, a new to me blog popped up “Amuse Your Bouche”. I know that mine won’t taste so well as the creator’s – I accidentally tipped too much unweighed pasta twirls into the saucepan of hot water – so the sauce to pasta ratio is very low. (I comfort myself that the fat content is lower). All in all, best to use the blog cook’s own photo.
Why I love the blog’s name is that it’s a play on words – in very expensive restaurants, there is an extra course called an “amuse bouche” – literally something to amuse your mouth/tastebuds. (it’s in French). But this down to earth blog is cheery and declares that is is all about “simple vegetarian recipes”.
And my dining companion?
Jan-Michel Basquiat. I’m watching the end of a recent BBC documentary on him, called “Rage to Riches”. If you live in the UK you can catch it on BBC i-player. I recommend this documentary – I have seen others and this is the best – it draws widely on primary sources – Basquiat’s sisters, his early galleryist, the girlfriend he was with when he changed from very poor to very rich and several other key friends – and there’s the video he was in with Blondie (Debbie Harry importantly bought his first painting – wonder where that is now).
In the recent post by New Yorker cartoon editor, he mentioned a cartoon by Roz Chast, very much part of the magazine for decades. Here are a few more of her creations:
Viewable on her website
You can also find her cartoons in her many books.
Her creative environment I find fascinating – there is such a range of interests and a strong love of craft. Her personality comes across: angsty but finding comfort in drawing as a way to remember, a way to process – possibly a response to the fact that her parents didn’t talk about important things in life. The actual workspace is quite simple: 2 filing cabinets full of drawings, plenty of paper, a well-lit desk space with drawing tools ready to hand.
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:
- I put on headphones, I listen to music very loud and I dance around for an hour
- I draw on the walls
- I make a lot of coffee
- and incense
- there’s a mirror on a door and I look at myself a lot
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.
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.
So today, Saturday, if you have time to be creative on the weekend – Explanation is the recommended prompt by Sketchbook Skool….
If you are following the daily creative prompts by Sketchbook Skool (put on the top of my blog page), read today’s, “Antsy” and began to fret, wondering what it was – if you felt very nervous, worried or unpleasantly excited by not knowing its meaning – well, that IS the definition of antsy. It’s a North American word, so not all our readers will be familiar with it.
As well as that meaning, Cambridge Dictionary offers the following synonyms – words or phrases meaning roughly the same. So similar in fact that you could swop one for the original word in a sentence and it would make sense.
from Cambridge Dictionary online
Responding to today’s creative prompt: dark. A homemade video in response to an everyday activity and the electrifying experience of reading W H Auden’s “Refugee Blues” poem and finding it shockingly up-to-date 70 years later.
I’m kindof cheating here as I didn’t make it fresh today, it is one I made earlier. But I’ve got a virus today (sound of violin playing). If I had a dog it would’ve eaten my homework.
A much better reading and visuals of W H Auden’s work was recently featured on the BBC – they put his words to modern news footage. (I made my vid first, I wasn’t copying).
Continuing the experiment with creative prompts from Sketchbook Skool. Here are your daily challenges for October, should you choose to accept this mission.
Sketchbook Skool is an excellent provider of online drawing classes – find this list above and more info on their courses over at:
Creative Prompts – what?
Creative prompts are a trigger, a starter, a warmup. The idea is that you see the word and it’s a catalyst to make creative work sparked off by that thought.
10 Benefits of Creative Prompts
- the randomness. It comes from outside yourself, so it take you out of unnoticed ruts
- it works quickly – read a word, start making
- the breadth of themes covered – just look across the month
- serendipity – you are likely to stumble accidentally upon a particularly meaningful theme to you personally, in among so many choices
- it encourages play, you can experiment, there’s no big commission at stake
- you can engage in the same themes with other people, everyone knows what the theme for the day is, it can become a fun shared activity
- it gives a starting point, instead of a blank screen/page/canvas
- it’s something to aim for – and you can still be surprised by feeling drawn to something different as you begin – you can go with that ‘diversion’
- it’s fresh, daily
- someone else has done the work of thinking where to begin, you just respond