Being Blown Away – Discovery #5

Creative Flow

Recently I had a person ask if I ever have a creative block. I said no, and went on a bit about why. But I this quote explains my way of thinking perfectly.

  • “The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.” – Chuck Close

That is what happens with my napkin drawings, with my sketchbook drawings, with almost everything I do creatively. In this drawing I started with the quote. In my napkin drawings the quote is my inspiration point. It is the one that causes something to occur to me.  In this case I was on live streaming video talking to some people and thinking out loud about what an illustration of this drawing might entail. The act of visualizing love and war led me to imagine what the participants’ thoughts might be. Then I had my aha moment of the lover and fighter saying almost the exact same thing. But I wouldn’t have come up with that just by sitting around waiting. It was the act of creating the drawing that caused the prompting of my mind.

Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

“In love we discover who we want to be. In war we discover who we are.” – Kristen Hannah, American author of ‘The Nightingale’ which I highly recommend. Interestingly enough, her FAQ page has a very telling statement at the bottom, similar to Close’s quote above.

  • “Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of writers come and go — published and unpublished — and what I’ve learned is that the ones who make it keep writing no matter what. When life is tough, they write; when the kids are sick, they write; when rejections pile up, they write. Are you seeing a pattern? That’s really what this career is ultimately about. Showing up at your computer day after day to hone your craft. Of course you should take classes and read other peoples’ books and study as much as you can, but none of it can ever take the place of daily work.”

 

 

 

Advantages of Being Disorganized – Discovery #4

Purchase the original | Purchase a print

Forgetful Rememberings

I consider myself to be average level forgetful. Not terrible, but not an iron-clad rememberer either.  BUT…just now I remembered I have to be sure to get program shirts for two participants in my running program, something I forgot yesterday.  I also have remembered 3 times overnight that I need to bring the car in today for a check up, something I forgot in between those rememberings. I also have forgotten where I have put my gloves or glasses or something, only to find them in a pocket of a coat I haven’t worn in a month.

Disorganized

But does that mean I am disorganized? Not really. It means my organization works well in some ways and not well in others.  How does it work well? By having visual reminders. Being an artist, I am all about the visual. If I have a visual signal I more often than not will know what it is I am supposed to be doing, where something might be, when I should be somewhere.  Once again, it is iron-clad, but it is reliable. That is why I like having a calendar, writing notes to myself, leaving things out where I can see them.

How does it not work well for me?  When I put something out-of-order and don’t give myself a way to later clue myself into what it is I did. This could be wearing a jacket I barely ever wear and leaving my gloves in them when I take it off.  It means scheduling something that barely ever happens, like a dentist appointment or car check up, and thinking I will just miraculously remember it a month or six months later. That’s not going to happen.

The Ultimate

Of course the ultimate rememberer for me would be an assistant. Then THEY would be the ones who would have to figure out some kind of trick to remember all the things I need to remember!

How do you remember well?


Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

“One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.” – A. A. Milne, 1882-1956. English author primarily known for his ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ series of children’s books.


The Greatest Obstacle – Discovery #3

Purchase the original drawing | purchase a print

Sunday School Question

We had an interesting question asked of us in Sunday School this week (adults call it ‘community group’ but I like Sunday School).  The question was this:  Tell us of a time you changed your mind about something.

The answers were all over the map, from the profound to the trivial. Linda’s was changing her mind about discomfort. She used to hate being uncomfortable and avoided exercise. Then she realized it is always temporary and she can get through it, so she has changed her mind.  Mine was changing my mind about what it means to be white. My paradigm about this shifted changed when I read the book, ‘Between the World and Me’ by Te-Nehisi Coates.  Another person said he had changed his mind about many social issues, going from being socially conservative to being more liberal.  Another person said she had changed her mind about salads and vegetables, having hated them and now liking them. That may seem trivial but I don’t think it is because it will have profound consequences in her health and life.

I thought of this question when I came back and finished drawing this napkin. Discovery is often about changing your mind about something. You believe something, maybe subconsciously and unspoken or maybe not, and then you discover something new and it changes your mind.

The Threat is You

The problem, as this quote suggests, is that discovery won’t come, and certainly won’t be initiated, if you already think you know something so surely that you aren’t willing to contemplate something that would threaten it. Without the willingness to discover, to be enlightened, to consider ideas uncontemplated, you must have a certain level of security and you must have a certain level of interest in something beyond yourself.

It is a very sad, pitiful and especially worrisome when the person unable or unwilling to discover new things is in a position of power over others.


Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” – Daniel Boorstin, 1914-2004, American historian and Librarian of Congress.


 

Hidden Discoveries – Discovery #2

Man, is this ever an odd one! When I start with a quote I don’t understand very well I usually end up with an illustration I understand even less. Then again the quote is about things hidden and not understood so … never mind, it totally makes sense to me now.

“We discover in ourselves what others hide from us and we recognize in others what we hide from ourselves.” – Luc de Clapiers, marquis de Vauvenargues


Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Luc de Clapiers, marquis de Vauvenargues


It’s No Accident – Discovery #1

While I was drawing this napkin one of my many millions of live streaming fans said, “If this is true then an accident isn’t an accident at all”. At which point I ordered a ban on this person and had them deported. No, just joking. What I really did was every so gently explain why this person was so egregiously wrong. I then finished the drawing, came into my office and scanned it, then started writing this commentary.

However I had real work to do (work that makes me almost minimum wage I will have you know) and put this aside after writing the first sentence above. I came back to it this morning and can’t remember her reasoning anymore. Probably because it was so non-sensical but maybe because I am old and senile. Anyway, I remember something else she said and I am going to effectively rebut that instead.

She said, “That would mean the first person who saw fire discovered fire”. I said, “No, you are wrong” and deported her. Wait, I already said that joke. Ok, what I really did was say, “No, the first person who found a USE for fire discovered it. It’s not just seeing something that is the discovery, it’s knowing what to do with it that is.”

At that point she bowed down in front of me and pledge eternal faithfulness to my intellectual superiority. Or she said “pfffft” and we moved on to talking about the new shades I had just put up. I can’t remember now.


Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, 1893-1986, Hungarian-American Physiologist. He is the discoverer of Vitamin C.


This original drawing is for SALE and you should buy it! Or, you can always by a print of it for much cheaper.

Subscribe and Join TheNapkin Kin

Get on the mailing list and get The Napkin Newsletter once a month and get a review of the months postings, with extra resources and features that will make your brain bigger and your day better!

 

Thanks, You Are Now A Napkin Kin!

%d bloggers like this: