Monday, September 15, 2014

Being Idle: Gathering Thoughts, Dreams, and Images

"Prairie II" by Jim Carpenter, Acrylic On Crescent Board, 20" x 28" 

The nature poets Wordsworth and Coleridge were great walkers. They ambled all over the coast of North Devon and Somerset in the years immediately following the French Revolution, and later wandered in the Lake District. Walking for them was a crucial part of the creative act; it was when they thought, dreamed and also gathered images. - Tom Hodgkinson

A Creativity Ramble: Gathering 

Here in Gainesville, FL we have a favorite nature spot, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. It is the place to go to see gators and wild horses and birds and wild flowers and butterflies. I like to go to look out at the vast landscape of grasses and sky. Others go there to see the wildlife - it is where we take visitors to see the gators.  It is a great source of inspiration for local artists.  

Tom Hodgkinson tells us that the ramble for Wordsworth and Coleridge was "a crucial part of the creative act." What strikes me most about this - in light of today's painting - is the notion of gathering images. I have been to the prairie many times and snapped many photos, but I seldom if ever look at them. They never measure up to what I saw; they never capture my impressions of the Prairie.  Upon reading this text by Hodgkinson I realize that I have indeed been "gathering images," but not on my camera or on my computer or in my photo box. I have been gathering them in my head.  

Is taking photograph after photograph a distraction from the daydream? Would it be more productive to be idle? What if one were to just look at the vista and soak up the imagery, store it in the mind's eye, and let it simmer in the imagination where it can be transformed by creative self-expression? 

I may leave my camera at home the next time I go to the Prairie. 

I prepped the piece of crescent board about a year ago with various acrylic gel mediums. Painting it today was so enjoyable, and so satisfying, I wonder why I waited so long to get to it.  Being idle is making me more productive!  Go figure!  

This is painting #15 in the 30 day challenge


  1. Looking at this, I can see 3 faces, in the center there is a boy in shorts, and in the bottom right corner, I can see a man wearing a tie. You have got me trained I think. ha ha I love this piece. I love the movement, and the solitude. I can hear the soft breeze that is blowing :)

    1. LOL! I guess you can see where this painting could have gone if it wanted to go there! I'm intrigued by what you write about the solitude, the movement, and being able to hear the breeze. That's pretty wonderful - thank you for sharing that with me. I appreciate it.

  2. I like this painting very much. I think it's a positive thing when people view it and can see different things. As my teacher saids, it's not a quick read - which is a good thing. In my newbie opinion it has a very nice composition, beautiful values and wonderful texture.
    Happy Painting and thanks for your encouraging comment on one of my paintings recently.

    1. Thank you, Bobbie. I appreciate your comments. I also appreciate your painting - which I think is lovely - and none of your paintings look to me to be done by a "newbie" - the look fresh and confident.