“I read somewhere that Ruebens said that students should not draw from life, but dram from all the classic casts. Then you really get the measure of them, you really know what to do. And then, put in your own dimples. Isn’t that marvelous ? “
The past 3 years I have been busying myself drawing inspiration from master works, Polke, Baldessari, De Kooning, and Caravaggio just to name a few. Working in collage, I decided to focus my energy on the work of the greats, it was humbling. I am still at the point where I know that I am just learning, I am just beginning, I hope I can maintain this enthusiasm for learning about collage and art in general for the rest of my life. All too often as we become “experts” in our field our arrogance grows and we begin to feel as if we have a firm grasp on what we are doing, it’s unfortunate that as humans we have this in our nature.
Years ago, I read a book called Zen Beginners Mind, I was 19 years old when I read this book, lived in Las Vegas, and like countless other young men I was on a quest for spiritual awakening, being self centered and selfish as most people are, and even more so most immature people, I mistakenly read the book and completely misinterpreted it to suit my own selfish thinking. It wasn’t until much later, almost 20 years later that I have begun to have even a semblance of what that Suzuki was saying. He begins with:
“ In the beginners mind there are many possibilities, in the experts there are few”
It sums it up for me, it sums up the De Kooning quote, De Kooning quoting Rubens, be humble, look for possibilities, ask questions, learn from others, learn from yourself, shut up, put your head down and work and stop thinking your original. Learn. Learn. Learn.
I teacher of mine at Mass Art, read from this book, she replaced the word ZEN with the word ART, if you have the time to do so, maybe you can take the time to do it. It changed my entire approach.