Inspire Me Thursday - Paints
I just did this painting yesterday for my pages in Daniel Davis' Journeys book, Engine. He asks each Journeys artist, "What is the 'Engine' that motivates you as an artist? What keeps you going? What drives you to create?"
I am driven by my need to create images that express and reflect the emotions my experiences and surroundings create within me. Whether art is in the form of words or pictures, it is an imageable translation of experience, sensation, perception, and emotion. Thus, I feel a certain kinship with the English Romantic poets, who, from the mid 18th century to the mid 19th century, derived much of their creative inspiration from Nature. Reacting against the precepts of order and control manifested in the dominance that science and industrialization had on humankind, the Romantics instead turned their outward gaze to Nature, and their inward eye to the spirit.
William Blake, considered to be the first great English Romantic poet, responded to the assualt of industrialization in the contrasting perceptions of society he depicted in his Songs of Innocence and Experience. He was followed by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, who moved beyond Edmund Burke's assertion that "terror is in all cases whatsoever . . . the ruling principle of the sublime," to depict Nature as a healing and spiritual force that could redeem the soul. The next generation of Romantic poets, George Gordon, Lord Byron; Percy Bysshe Shelley; and John Keats, continued the artistic process of finding one's individual poetic voice. Many of the ideas and ideals expressed by the English Romantics were later incorporated in the philosophies of the 19th century American Transcendentalists, notably Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, and in turn have contributed to the more contemporary "back to nature" movements.
Our world today is filled with many things that leave us as individuals feeling impotentent and fearful. Although it has been noted that the harder times are, the more creative and innovative art becomes, many people feel crushed by the overwhelming predominance of negativity. I believe it's necessary step away, become more sensitive to ordinary experiences, and find one's personal sublime as snapshots of the myriad moments that comprise our daily lives. There is always some beauty everywhere...
It was one of those days when it's a minute away from snowing and there's this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was, like, dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. And that's the day I knew there was this entire life behind things... this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever... it helps me remember... and I need to remember... Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in. - Ricky Fitts (Wes Bentley) in American Beauty
(acrylic on paper)