Friday, October 31, 2008

my kid is more creative than you

Ok, I'll admit he had some help with the carving. But if he had been properly trained in the use of sharp tools, I am convinced he would have generated a much more creative result.
This has nothing to do with the fact that I may or may not be biased when it comes to his super-intelligence and hyper-creativity. It has everything to do with his age and stage of development.
Many moons ago I endured a thorough round of education classes along with three years of art education classes under the teaching of Dr. Margaret Johnson. Since artistic exploration was closely connected with determining the developmental stages of children this was a topic we visited often. However, since I moved on to teach a much older age range, I've filed most of that information away into the darker areas of my brain. Lately though, I've been recalling much of that information as I've watched my son become good friends with his crayons.
As it turned out, it was not a crayon he used to demonstrate his amazing creativity. It was a biscuit.
We were enjoying breakfast for dinner the other night and he quietly began devouring his almost perfectly round biscuit. I watched as he took a semi-circle bite. Very intentionally he observed the remains and turned the biscuit 180 degrees. He paused briefly and took another similar sized bite. Then he proudly hoisted the twice bitten biscuit into the air high above his head and proclaimed: "It's an airplane!" Lots of airplane noises followed and then another pause. He turned the biscuit 90 degrees this time and said, "Oooooooh, it's a boat!"
Between the ages of 2 and 7 this type of uninhibited creativity flourishes in children as they begin to interact with and explore their environments. Studies consistently show that this creativity begins to decline during the elementary school years as children are taught conformity to rules and social expectations and perhaps begin to experience criticism in regard to their different thinking.
The students I teach are on the other end of this dip in creativity. Having escaped from high school, college students begin to show a marked increase in creativity as they are set free from the expectations of their primary schools and begin to experience higher levels of personal freedom. I often see students wrestling with this as they try to hold on to the comfort of thinking that there are "right answers" and formulas that work in all situations. Many of them...many of us...have a long way to go in order to get back to the point where a biscuit is not just a biscuit.
Picasso said a lot of crazy things, but one thing he said still holds weight with me. He said, "I spent the first half of my life trying to learn how to draw like an adult and the last half of my life trying to learn how to draw like a child."
See, even Picasso thinks my kid is more creative than you.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

austin, meet hudson

the truck is just behind the tree but you can still get an idea of hudson's size.
the new one at the end of week 2

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Now Showing

"Abstraction in Character" Exhibition at the Gallery at Carillon, Uptown Charlotte, NC

This exhibit includes Philip Morsberger, David Hooker, Paul Matheny, Jill Allen, & me and is curated by Hodges Taylor Gallery. It begins October 17 and continues through January 9, 2009.

Need reasons to go? How about new ceramic wall sculpture by David Hooker. Or there's some brand new paintings by Paul. (David and Paul have both been mentioned on here before in the early days of the e-sketchbook) And then there's the giant Sol LeWitt cube on the back wall. And of course, the very cool Jean Tingley giant motorized fountain sculpture in the center of the lobby.
And just inside the main entrance you'll also meet:

& "Laura Jean"

mine, Tingley's, & LeWitt's

"Laura Jean" and the others

view through the Tingley

antlers and ears
The Carillon building is at 227 W. Trade Street, Charlotte, NC. For more information you may contact me or Hodges Taylor Gallery (

Thursday, October 16, 2008

more notes...

"Before the beautiful - no, not before but within the beautiful - the whole person quivers. He not only "finds" the beautiful moving; rather, he experiences himself as being moved and possessed by it."

-Hans Urs Von Balthasar

Monday, October 13, 2008

clara and friends

Someone sent me this photo from the show in Maryland. Sometimes it's OK to touch the artwork.
Many thanks to this family (especially the 3 month old) for the encouragement.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

heads up or you'll miss the leaves

Some of my former students tell me that having a kid has made me kinder. Logan calls me "soft" and keeps waiting to catch me talking in high pitched, kid-speak. Nora calls me "Grandpa Doug". Of course neither of them are correct, but putting that photo up there will give them a couple of months worth of new material. You're welcome.
That's my mom and my kid as seen from the door of the metal shop a few weeks ago.

... and this was two days of work inside the metal shop this week.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

notes on beauty

"If what we mean by beauty has centrally to do with honesty, authenticity, truth telling, then the congruent simplicity of the aritist's action will heighten, not suppress, the tensioned reality of life in this world."

"That is why so often "nice" art is so much more distasteful and tedious than an unflinchingly honest expression of the ugly realities an artist also perceives."

"It is God's delight in something that makes it beautiful. Beauty is in the eye of the Creator before it is in the eye of the creature."

" sentimentalize something is to look only at the emotion in it and at the emotion it stirs in us rather than at the reality of it, which we are always tempted not to look at because reality, truth, silence are all what we are not much good at and avoid when we can. To sentimentalize something is to savor rather than to suffer the sadness of it, is to sigh over the prettiness of it rather than to tremble at the beauty of it, which may make fearsome demands of us or pose fearsome threats"

all taken from the chapter 5, "The Holiness of Beauty" in David Willis' book, "Notes on the Holiness of God"