Monday, September 15, 2008

Lessons from Lucy: What's Your Shoestring?

This week, like most of my weeks, has been full of the kind of amazing adventures which only belong to little girls. For them, everything has the potential to be something else!

Lucy had read the shoe book and threaded the holes with the purple string until it became a dull game. So, she just pulled it out and began to experiment. Within just minutes, she had folded it in half, tucked the ends over her ears and pulled it over to "listen" to my chest. She had stretched it out and "measured" me. She had tucked it under her chin and "played" a violin. She had threaded through it her belt loops like a sash . . . . She thought up more things than I can remember. Imagination at work!

Later, after attending an afternoon concert of baroque music at the Morris Museum of Art, older daughter and I passed by an exhibit of photographs of local things. She said, "Mom, he takes pictures like you do. These just remind me of your photographs." I could see her point. I was complimented by her comment and agreed that they did "feel" the same and some were the same views! I was just a little intimidated to realize that these simple, yet powerful, photos were taken by Robert Rauschenberg! Oh, my!

Lucy is not limited by what a purple shoestring is supposed to be. Neither was Rauschenberg. He took ordinary, uninspiring bits of daily life and let his imagination go. This week, the Morris will reinstall his work "August Allegory (Anagrams)" and I will go for the unveiling and look more carefully at the piece to spot the influence from those photographs of familiar things. I will look at how he used his "purple shoestring!"

And when my work is ordinary and boring and uninspiring, I will look at whether I saw some new possibilities in a sketch or photo, played with paint and texture, used the idea as a starting point or whether I only used the shoestring as a shoestring. I will try to be inspired by Lucy and Robert.

Good question. I just need good answers to "What's your shoestring?"

BushStrokes (c) AAB

No comments: