Tag Archives: blocks to creativity

Wild Beasts at Work

“The artist should call forth all his energy, his sincerity, and his greatest possible modesty in order to push aside during his work the old clichés that come so ready to his hand and can suffocate the small flower that itself never turns out as one expected.”

— Henri Matisse1

Isn’t it wonderful how things sometimes “line up”?   I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the mission and activities of The Earl Wentz and William Watkins Foundation, how to explain succinctly our educational approaches, and what our next steps will be.   Right now, of course, our Summer Musical Theatre Workshop looms large on the horizon.   But then there are the other initiatives on the schedule, too, including performances of some of Earl Wentz’s musical works.

How to do it all?   How to gain additional support beyond what the foundation can contribute from its own resources?   How to keep growing and not just repeating what we already know and have done?   How to keep moving towards fulfilling our goals?

I get restless as I ponder and so I roam.

And it works.  For me.

In the last week, I’ve visited the fabulous new Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Arkansas, seen architect Fay Jones’s stirring masterpiece Thorncrown Chapel, hiked over rushing river waters via marvels of engineering, and just today attended an exhibition of the art books of Henri Matisse at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.

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Where’s My Mind?

I’ve written a lot about critical thinking in the last few blog posts, partially because I believe it’s something that’s currently lacking to a great degree in our culture and particularly in the arts. In future blog posts, I’ll expand on this and explore the interplay of imagination and rational thinking.

As I have said previously, almost anyone could stand on the stage and “feel”.  But could you do it again? You and I could scream our lungs out at each other. “Wow! I really felt that!” we might say afterwards, licking our chops like cats. But would it serve the play, be interesting and appropriate, or would it just be emotional masturbation? And again, could either of us do that again and again without very rapidly wrecking our voices?

In the end, who really cares if you “felt” it or not? The real test is: Were you able to convey across the footlights the impression that the character was feeling whatever emotion of the moment, by whatever path you took to get there?

Simple emotional indulgence is not only boring to watch, it’s a cheat. You might start by getting “feelings” but can you justify them after the fact?

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Further Towards A Multi-Disciplinary Approach

The photograph above, “Follow Me”, © 2015 by William B. Watkins, can be viewed in a larger format in the Image Gallery. On that page, just double-click on the image to view it in a large, slideshow mode.

As you know if you read the last blog entry, I waited to get a little more response from blog readers about the post “Towards a Multi-Disciplinary Approach” and the exercises in it before continuing on the subject.

While not completely unexpected, I have to admit that I was surprised at exactly how much confusion the exercises stirred up.

When I asked some specific people for feedback or about whether or not they had done the two short exercises in the post, the prevailing answers I got were along the lines of “I didn’t understand what I was supposed to do.” I asked if the directions were unclear, concerned that I had gone over people’s heads somehow. No, I was assured, they weren’t.

Hmmmmm . . . . I wondered what the problem was then. “I didn’t know what this was for,” someone said. “I wasn’t used to doing things that way,” said another. “I didn’t think I was smart enough,” a very bright person told me.

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