Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Circus Animals' Desertion

"The Circus Animals' Desertion"

I wanted to do a simple drawing today with ink and colored pencils. I love folk art, and I wanted to do a drawing in that style. Doing folk art lets you be creative in such a pure and childlike way.

I based the images on a poem by Yeats called "The Circus Animals' Desertion." It is about the awful moment when inspiration deserts us, when we fear our creative life is dead. In the first stanza he writes:

I sought a theme and sought for it in vain,
I sought it daily for six weeks or so.

In this picture, the animals represent the imagination. The people have chained a bear to a tree. The horse, which is symbolic of primal energy, has been tamed and is in service to humans. The goat and the unicorn are escaping into the sky, not only an open sky, but the night sky, a place of dreams.

Some people do not notice the animals' escape; others look into the sky and gesture to the animals longingly. The man on the horse tries to stop the animals by using force. I think each person in the picture says something about how we deal with the loss of our creative power. I remember what John Trudell said in the documentary about him: Our power comes from our relationship to life.

I may do a whole series of these and base them on different lines from Yeats's poem. I had such a good time doing this.

1 comment:

V said...

Another big step in your search for
what creativity is.



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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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