As an artist and generally curious person, I am always looking for ways to learn and my preferred medium right now is online. There’s a wealth of information on the ‘interwebs’ and people are constantly sharing new and even old ideas through their content.
Bob Ross was a national treasure. He made you believe that painting was an attainable endeavor. I’ve actually never tried to paint from one of his tutorial videos, I merely watched the show as entertainment. Ross was encouraging about the learning process and confident in the ability of anyone who wanted to paint. Granted, his paintings weren’t the most creative and some might argue that they were formulaic, but it doesn’t negate the magic of seeing a snow-capped mountain appear before your eyes within minutes. I think it’s a special trait of an educator, to capture someone’s attention and inspire them.
Bob Ross was ‘THAT DUDE’ and his work is a testament to the power of media and education.
I spend a lot of time reading, writing, listening to podcasts and audiobooks. When I’m in the studio, podcasts and audiobooks are my go-to because I can listen while working.
On my commute this week, I listened to a book about creativity by a professor in the Architecture department at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). She presented some interesting ideas about how creativity develops and how we engage in creative work
Chapter 6, ‘Perceiving and Conceiving’ was especially interesting as I examine the importance of drawing as a foundation for other work. It’s a critical skill that I believe is useful for everyone, not just artists.
After two long days of traveling from Tokyo, I finally landed in Cape Town on New Year’s Day. I ‘celebrated’ on a flight from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Cape Town, and by ‘celebrate’ I mean I had a nightmare that the plane was plummeting from the sky. Ah, fun times. It took me a couple of days to get acclimated but I’m back on schedule and excited about being in Cape Town for a bit. The weather is lovely, there is a lot to see and they have a vibrant arts scene. For a relatively young place, there is a lot of critical history that will be fun to explore from the inside.
I have been creating small pieces as color studies for larger works when I get back to my studio in New York. How is the essence of a place captured in color? This is one of the questions I’m asking as I conduct these studies. Color plays an integral role in how we perceive ideas, our memory and is tied to emotional and psychological experiences. Being intentional about color is important to me because it helps me to be effective in how I guide the design.
I told a Japanese friend from college that I was taking a Shodo class while I’m in Tokyo. She told me, “Shodo is a way of life.” I had never heard it put like that but I completely understand it. It could take a lifetime for a person to master Shodo. I started taking lessons last week and I’m slowly but surely catching on but I know that I will have to practice consistently.
My biggest problem so far is my ignorance of the hiragana and katakana. When I’m drawing the characters, I’m consistently trying to quiet my mind while focusing on each stroke, so I won’t mess up. I know that it’s just practice and because I’m such a novice, it’s expected that I will make mistakes. But I have a commitment to honor the Shodo, and knowing that it is something that is taken very seriously makes me feel justified in my obsessiveness.
I had to be picky about selecting materials for my ‘traveling studio’. The sole criterion was low-maintenance. It was a tough decision and I’m not even sure what I’ll create with these things, but here’s what I brought: