A Studio Muse
2.5x3.5 mixed media collage
I've been putting together a short presentation for a local painting group about the 2012 WRAA Tiny Treasures Fundraiser, and to that end making a collection of ATC sized pieces to show the group. Yesterday I wanted to assemble a couple little collages in the required 2.5x3.5 inch format, and was inspired by a ceramic pin I had inherited from my late friend, artist and teacher, Katherine Belling. I always admired the little mask-like face, though I seldom wear the pin for fear of breaking it. The Bellings had vacationed in Mexico with us years ago, and I remember her breaking one of the matching earrings when it slipped to the floor. Anyway, I used the pin as the basis for the face of this little collage, and I dug into my stash of salvaged papers, and Mom's old button tin, to finish it off. Kathy was an inspiration to me when she was here, and after her death I was spurred on to go back to making art, so I suppose that makes her my muse. Muses were Greek goddesses who were imagined to inspire artists, poets and scientists, and later sometimes some women were described as muses when they served to inspired artists. I seem to remember that there was a 1999 comedy featuring Albert Brooks, who courted his modern Muse in the form of Sharon Stone.
I believe inspiration comes from many places. For me, seeing other people's art always spurs my own ideas, and ideas from just playing around with materials. When in doubt, I move my hands. I doodle. I try an online challenge. I dip into my stash of old diaries and other vintage paper, book and magazine pages, personal photos, and assorted junk. I play music - heck, I just play.
After looking for a poem to comment on the topic of a muse, I found this excerpt from Alexander Pope's Essay on Criticism, lines I hadn't thought of in a while, though perhaps I should have:
A little learning is a dang'rous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Fir'd at first sight with what the Muse imparts,
In fearless youth we tempt the heights of arts,
While from the bounded level of our mind,
Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind,
But more advanc'd, behold with strange surprise
New, distant scenes of endless science rise!
So pleas'd at first, the tow'ring Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky;
Th' eternal snows appear already past,
And the first clouds and mountains seem the last;
But those attain'd, we tremble to survey
The growing labours of the lengthen'd way,
Th' increasing prospect tires our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
I'll keep in mind my lack of deep knowledge, when I give my talk to the art class this week.