Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Morning Prayer

Collage, acrylic, oil, cwm, gold pigment
12x12 inches

              "Oh Wow!"
These were the two words that escaped,
 without thought, 
as I walked out of my house.

Resting high in the sky 
was a perfectly round heart, 
pulsing crimson red with life sustaining light.

It was the sun-
sitting silent,
burning through the morning mist,
all the color of the sky,
resting in her hemoglobin red round face.

True beauty stops you in your tracks-
true beauty takes your breath
 and gives it back with wonder.

She opened my day with poetry,
and gave me the gift of gratitude.

As I stepped along the path,
I was aware-
we are here
because of her. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Where Is the Creative Connection Between the Hand and the Mind?

Pentimento no. 2
(Change of Heart)
Acrylic on cradle board
8 x 16 inches

When did cursive become a dying art? 

I was astonished when I read an interview in Letter Arts Review with Lawrence Wheeler, professor of Humanities and Applied Linguistics at Portland State University, where he noted, "... I admit to a growing pessimism about our great and marvelous art of calligraphy, if only on the basis of substantial evidence from my undergraduate students of not only a lack of interest in handwriting, but a terrifying incapacity. Given that I write comments on students' papers in Italic, I'd become inured to the relatively small number of students, who, starting in the mid 1970s, would come up after class to ask , "What does this say?"...But in the last three years I have been confronted by the same numbers who, often shamefacedly, say, "I don't know how to read cursive-what's this say?" 

After doing a bit of digging I learned since Common Core standards were initiated, cursive is being systematically dropped from school curricula as teachers see cursive as becoming obsolete, as computers and smart phones become more and more the method of "writing."

In the early 1940's, Chilean abstract expressionist and surrealistic painter, Roberto Matta introduced Robert Motherwell to "automatic drawing" or "cosmic doodling" as Motherwell called it. This technique was used as a tool to tap into the unconscious creative. Watching a documentary about Motherwell, he was so excited when Matta shared this with him. It seemed to open up a new chapter of creative language and expression for him. 

Where will our future artists find that creative communication between the hand and the mind if they aren't taught cursive? You can't do it on a key board. Your hand has to dance across a sheet of paper or canvas. It's that very human action that unleashes your unconscious creative.

The art of writing, representational or in abstract form, is so lovingly personal, that not to have that gift in our arsenal of communication is a real shame. What are our teachers thinking? Where are the art instructors? They should be raising their pens in protest.