Friday, May 8, 2015

Mud Pies, Pottery and Mankind’s Passion to Create

"India Rising -- the Lost"  24x18 acrylic on canvas (based on legend)
Why I didn’t go into pottery, I’ll never know. As a child I loved puttering with clay. Its sensual pliable warmth gave me my first thirsting for creativity. 

In grade school, a classmate and I made some clay figures. Our teacher gave us two empty cubby holes to use, and we fashioned a home for our two families that even included two dogs and a cat.
Our imaginations went wild as we moved our stubby people from place to place. We spoke for them, barked and meowed for them, and created furniture for them to use for meals, sleeping and being together. Our primitive characters came alive under our fingertips and tutelage.

I did some research and discovered the “Daily Mail” and in their “Science & Technology Section” an article on the history of clay works:

“Prehistoric pottery shows that man mastered clay 17,500 years ago - before we settled and became farmers.” That means man actually made animal figures artistically before there is a record of clay being used for functional purposes.

  • “Finds prove that man mastered pottery 17,500 years ago
  • “Pottery may have been invented - and forgotten - several times in human history
  • “Later, technology was used for carving animals - NOT for making cooking vessels
  • “Discovery came from before time when humans settled down into farming communities”

“Earlier theories have held that the invention of pottery happened during the period about 10,000 years ago when humans moved from being hunter-gathers to farmers.

“But our ancestors didn't use the technique to make pots - instead, they created ceramic animals using clays baked in ovens.

“The finds - along with other recent discoveries in China - have forced scientists to rethink the history of pottery. It's now thought that the use of ceramics was invented - and forgotten - several times during history by different societies.

“The new find in modern-day Croatia is evidence of a community of prehistoric artists and craftspeople who ‘invented’ ceramics during the last Ice Age – thousands of years before pottery became commonplace.” As an artist, I find this positively amazing!

"Hey, Coconut, Mon!"  16 x 20 mixed media on canvas
And from the late Robert Genn:

The Big Picture
“In life, in art, a major problem is failing to see the big picture. Individual parts may be just fine but the overall doesn't get off the ground. Together with your individual sensitivity and your own vision, what you're looking for is strength, pattern and character. We're talking art here: 
  • “Go a long way back; I mean a long way--into the other room. 
  • “Small room?--look at it through binoculars--backwards.
  • “Look at it in a mirror.
  • “Half close your eyes and look at it. 
  • “Half close your eyes and work on it. 
  • “If you're working from a slide, throw the projector out of focus and find the compositional faults. 
  • “If you're working from a color photo, run it through a black-and-white photocopier and find the faults. 
  • “If you're working from your head, try holding pieces of toned paper here and there to see improvements by adding color.
  •  “If you're working on location, don't let yourself be tyrannized by the scene. Keep asking, "What could be?
  • “If you're working on location, look through the viewfinder of a camera without taking the picture.” 

 “It's easier to get the big picture in a little picture, so think of your big picture as a little picture and your big picture will fly.”  Well said!

Below:  "Prayer Circles" acrylic on canvas