Fluid Lines, Fluid Creativity

February 3, 2009


Above: Silhouettes cut from paper, ©Marcia McEachron, sculptor and painter. I collected these scraps and pasted them in my journal as a keepsake. Look at the fluidity of line. Enjoy the way the essence of each animal is captured with a simplicity and minimum of detail. Click on the image to see an enlargement. (Note that the text has been blurred for privacy.)

I do a lot of things in my visual journal: I draw, write, paint, make notes, put in a reference photo or two now and then. I also save things, things that are ephemeral and sure to go missing if I don't put them in my journal. Things that mean something to me and remind me about the amazing things I see and participate in during my daily life.

Sunday night I had dinner with two women artists who are both amazing in their own right. While we were talking my friend Marcia picked up some paper and scissors and started cutting animal silhouettes out. We were talking about her small wire animal sculptures that she makes. Now in another medium she was making animals with speed and ease. The horse cutout took her less than 15 seconds, and she was talking all the while. "I need to video tape you doing that, and post it on my blog," I said, amazed at what she had wrought working freehand—that's right, no sketching whatever.

(Well I am not set up to make videos right now, so that amazing moment will have to wait. In the meantime we can enjoy the wonderful quality of line that Marcia has created. There is a joyfulness in these simple pieces which some artists labor at and never reach.)

While we continued to talk she folded another scrap of paper and cut out the fox and the bunny. When she finished the fox she looked at the muzzle and said, "that should be narrower," and went snip, snip with the scissors, faster than I could blink. It was the only "correction" she made to any of them.

At this point I started grabbing bits and pieces of paper. "I want that," I said, adding things to my pile. I actually needed them, because I knew they wouldn't be kept, and I wanted them in my journal to document the amazing feat I'd just witnessed. I love having documentation like this in my journal. It totally brings the moment back to me.

It is also important for me to have these mementos because they serve as a reminder that a creative person can train her eye and hand to use every second of time, and the best time to do something creative is right now.

Take some time today to train your eye and hand. Work towards that fluid line.

Also, go and read Marcia's website (which is under construction but already has a bunch of info and images). You might also ask to be on her email list for upcoming shows and info about her new pet project: clothed model life-drawing sessions. (I'll let you know more as her plans for the sessions progress.)

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