Friday, 5 February 2010

Words for Art the Artisan

I am in a sombre mood today as I get ready to attend the funeral of a fellow artist. Funerals always make me contemplative. It was the conduct of so many funerals in my time as a minister that got to me most and forced me to ask the most questions. Anyway enough of that.

Yesterday I asked artists to give me words that described art to them. I have been overwhelmed by the response. Twenty-three words in the first day. I will not list them here but if anybody has any words that spring to mind make a comment or get in touch and leave them with me. I am considering, as is my want, the connections between Taoism and Art. I thought the best way to do this was to gather the words of others in the world of art and see where that leads my thinking. Maybe once I have shared a thought or two on here from time to time others could add their thoughts. Possibly we could then link them to appropriate artwork and see where it leads. Who knows? Maybe it is time to put all the  hot air to good use.

I know that this is also a big day for one who follows this blog. I am sure he is aware that he will be in my thoughts today. Ok, if the words that follow are meaningless waffle or rubbish please say, and I will lay this idea aside.


I am sure like me all artists have their favourite brushes or the tools that they use to sculpt. They become precious. I know I have a brush that is wearing very thin and I am wondering how long I can work with her. Every time I lift her I feel an affinity with her. Does she have an inner being I wonder? In years gone past such things as tools were the treasured items of the owner and no other craftsman would ever use the tools of another. It used to be so when I was a butcher also, knives where for the use of the owner only. I am told that now there are tools and they are just used by whomever. I think most of us in the world of art will still have our own tools and cherish them.

The elimination of each having their own tools for me means we also lose a sense of inner pride and connection with out art if we lose the personal affiliation with our brushes and tools.

There will be those who are laughing at me. Some who think I am nuts to suggest that my brushes have an inner spirit of their own. A brush is a brush nothing more. But that sense of oneness with my tools, with my brushes brings with it a sense of self realisation.

For a year I lived on the Island of Iona off the coast of Mull in Scotland. A small Island, three miles long and one and a half miles wide with a total population then of about eighty people. The birthplace of Christianity in Scotland, where in 562AD St Columba set up his sect of monks. Many people who visited the Island during the summer on day trips said the minute they got off the boat they could sense a feeling of spirituality. There were times when I used to think, if you are looking for it you will find it. Maybe it is the same with the tools of the artisan. Nevertheless on the days I feel at one with my tools and sense their inner being there grows a respect for them, and that in turn creates a sense of oneness in me. In feeling this about my brushes I also get a feeling of being able to focus on my own perceptions of what I am trying to achieve. I find a sense of ability to create. On the days when I sense this feeling of spirit in what I am doing and my heart sings, then I can create something that I often wonder where it came from. Other days are what I call bin days.

A friend yesterday expressed this with the words, “I embraced the wind.” What a wonderful thought Maybe our brushes are just brushes, our tools just tools but a sense of respect and feeling for them can bring an inner change in the artist. The Taoist would say it was being at peace with the Chi. The Chi being the inner spirit of nature. It is easy to be about the business of making art. To lift the brushes open the palette and get on with the work in hand. That wonder when you pick up madam brush and acknowledge her inner being we paint on a different level.

I leave that thought with you for today. I Would love all your thoughts on my ramblings today. Positive or negative.

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