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22 October 2012

Watermelon Slice on Marble (+ a TED Talk not to miss)

I recently watched an excellent TED talk by Oliver Uberti (a Senior Design Editor at National Geographic). Oliver talks about love and regaining a respect for the creative process. During the talk, he recounts a National Geographic project he worked on about Antoni Gaudí's Sagrada Família in Barcelona. You have to watch him speak to get the full impact -- please do watch it as it's only 18 minutes -- but I found it moving when he discusses the remarkable drawings of Sagrada Família that his colleague Fernando Baptista created:
"Something magical happened here.... I believe that when Fernando was drawing this, perhaps unbeknownst to him, little bits of his soul came up through his body, passed through his archives of experience, down through his arm, activating muscle memory, through his fingers, onto his pencil and into the paper. And when YOU gazed upon this work, all that soul that he invested, leapt off the screen, entered through your eyes, all the little rods and cones, through your archives of experience, and came to rest inside your soul. This sharing of souls is the bond between a creator and the viewer."
I particularly love what he is saying because it takes the emphasis off the"subject" or thought or product, and instead emphasizes experience or "participatory knowledge." ("Participatory knowledge" refers to The Cloud of Unknowing and was coined by Laurence Freeman OSB in "A Theology of Experience” from Monastery Without Walls: The Spiritual Letters of John Main (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2006), p. 232-3.)

Towards the end, Oliver adds, "Art is not predictable. And the human spirit is not predictable," and then recommends that we "take the time to work with our hands. That's the heart of art. And that is the heart of innovation."

Anyway, I went back into my painting records, and apparently I paint watermelon fairly consistently about once every year -- no idea why. If you'd like, leave a comment or tweet about this painting.

Have a good week,

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