Thursday, December 4, 2014

Even the sparrow: a beginning

"Even the sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, a place near your altar, O Lord of hosts...." 

For a long while I've wanted to do a drawing of a sparrow and her nest with words from Psalm 84 hand lettered in the picture somehow. Today I sketched a little pile of ideas. This has the prettiest bird though maybe not the best idea.

And then we zoom out for a glimpse of the creative chaos (and, whoops, my unswept kitchen floor). When I am done in a few minutes I will clean it all up as the Flylady tells me to do, but for now this artist does not clean as she goes!

I have big questions about the composition. I want to suggest sacred space, hallowed ground, without putting in anything churchy. but a minute ago I started feeling impatient and thought "Oh, I'll just pick one of these compositions and go with it." Then I remembered a lecture on creativity by John Cleese. He said that one characteristic of creative people is a willingness to leave creative decisions unmade when there is time for it and they think they can come up with a better answer. This is not about perfectionist dithering, or fussing and fuming and erasing and redrawing something that should be left alone, but permission to let an idea germinate and branch out and go places. My plan is to do more loose sketches at night and see if my sleep brain comes up with something to discover in the morning.

This is not the lecture I remember, which was much longer and, from what I read in the comments, is now available for the paltry sum of $750. So we'll just glean what we can from this. It still has good stuff. 


  1. Right. Most of the time it is best to take that sketch that has the most life, the most energy, even if it doesn't look "perfect" yet. Look at it tomorrow, grit your teeth, forget about fussing with the composition and just start making art.

  2. I will if I don't have a better idea about it. Sometimes I wait a little and do come up with a solution I'm really happy about that I didn't think of before.

  3. Oh my is the John Cleese lecture appropriate to a situation in my life! That part about how people wanting to be in control and discouraging creativity. I'll work on the part about making sacred time for creative things. Thanks for sharing. Very cute bird too :)

  4. I've been listening to a bunch of talks on creativity (my kind of entertainment!) and somebody noted that people without much to lose one way or the other and lots to gain are more likely to take creative risks, but those same people--once they've taken their risk and have something to show for it are likely to switch over from a creative mode to a safety-first mode, so they don't lose what they gained by being creative. Basically, people in charge--however they got there--will by the nature of their position be scared of creativity. Of course, without continuing creative growth, things will get bad anyway, eventually. Not that I'm trying to make any kind of point regarding your situation. I do hope you make time for creating. I'm really liking my early mornings before kids are up.