Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Art, and the Other Side (Art Workshop Part I)

Art, and the Other Side...

After 25 years of training and working the "engineering" side of my brain, I wanted a shot at exploring "The Other Side."

We so often think that if you are a scientist or engineer, you can't be artistic. "Creativity" seems magical, mysterious, so opposed to logic. But science and art at their best require both rules *and* flashes of insight. In science, very often the flashes provide the basis for new rules. In art, breaking the rules is often the catalyst for something amazing!

In the last 2 years, I have been absorbing a new life, allowing more creativity to creep in, but until recently, not actively pursuing art. Where I've never written for fun before, now I am. I've been experimenting (e.g., playing) with different foods and cooking methods. We've taken time specifically for "photo safaris." And I tried a new approach for learning Spanish.

But until now, I hadn't done anything structured, or specifically aimed at ART. Taking a class in some kind of art has been on my "to do" list (you can take the kid out of engineering, but you can't take the engineer out of the kid) :-) So, last weekend, I went to an ART Workshop! Alison is a gifted artist and teacher.
My art-self-confidence going into this was pretty low, but I decided to take a deep breath, ignore convention, and dive in! When I started talking about vague recollections of rules, Alison threw the door open - you can do this, or that, or whatever you like - wow... When some vague doubt crept in - "something is missing, or not quite right" - she was like a guide in a maze - "see how you did this here? you can try a few more like that." When I thought something worked, she was right there agreeing :-S.

The retreat in Puriscal was ideal - our small group spent Friday afternoon through Monday morning completely focused on art. The retreat folks took care of us - we woke with the sun, had a leisurely cup (or two) of coffee, breakfast and wake-up conversation, then gathered in the open-air studio.
We sketched, painted, and papier machéd, continuing through a mid-morning snack, then broke for a late lunch. Usually we did some more artwork after lunch, then went for a refreshing swim, showered, and relaxed in the heat of the day. When it cooled, we went back to art, then broke for dinner, followed by fun and games. All we *had* to focus on was art!

1 comment:

WGillick said...

You said:
"We so often think that if you are a scientist or engineer, you can't be artistic...But science and art at their best require both rules *and* flashes of insight."

I really agree with this assessment. The stereotype is that nerds can't write or paint creatively, nor can artists write recursive functions. Though there is one thing I've noticed: an artist's hand often can draw fluidly in freehand something that a more rigidly schooled engineer could not. e.g. I can draw nice 3D perspective sketches, but totally trash a simple outline of a horse.

Anyway, wanted to check out your blog after we met today at work.
--Will G.