This is the second of three brief extracts from book eight – creating from wonder – in my series of free e-books: empty canvas : wondering mind
Marvel and wonder go hand-in-hand, and their offspring is true learning. One of the most exciting things about the kind of activity that occurs in the art room, (the educating art room), is that it is firmly grounded in experimental processes. We are, as novice or professional artisans, deeply involved in both wonder and wondering.
Questions are the life-blood of the artisan, and the prime question in any artisan’s mind is “What if …?” This is a question that makes many parents and teachers wince. At the same time, it’s the one that generates exploration and experimentation in the fields of science, sports, philosophy – what area of human endeavor can be excluded from its penetrating, “But perhaps…”?
The “What if …?” of wondering mind is the fuel for any investigation into creativity.
Blind Men on a Log Bridge
By Hakuin Ekaku
(The Gitter Collection)
Hakuin’s painting is a beautiful depiction of the creative process.
Two blind travellers are crossing a river on a bridge made from a floating log. Imagine the courage, the focus, the risk! Arms reach out to probe for stability, feet follow one tentative step at a time. Balance is maintained, but only by ruthless presence in the moment. What if a wave rolls the log ? What if it is flooded over? What if someone is approaching? What if it’s too short, too narrow, too rotten?
The blind men just keep going.
This is so often the way we feel when faced with the empty canvas. We struggle to find a foothold. We feel we haven’t a clue as to what we’re doing or where we’re going.
Well, the good news is that this is exactly how we will feel, if genuine creative expression is our priority.
– miriam louisa simons