Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Waiting Game

We just got back from a trip to Cochabamba, Bolivia, and I was often thankful for the ability to look at things with the eye of a painter. Not just in noticing the beauty of new surroundings, but also as something to do while waiting. When you travel, you spend a lot of time waiting ~ in airports, in restaurants, in shops, in friends' houses, or standing in line. Waiting for transportation, for people, waiting to be waited on. It's a lot more fun if you switch into Guerrilla Painter mode and start composing a painting. In a cityscape, which is where we were most of the time, this becomes an exercise in abstract patterns of color, shape & value. I noticed how black can actually have a cheerful face. A big piece of luggage shaped like a drawstring bag or a door with fancy relief decoration (accented with white dust) can make you smile. On the other hand, who would have thought that blue -true blue- might look ominous, intimidating? If it's a tall, narrow wooden door with angular panels & rigid lines, it can give you pause.

This kind of awareness might actually become easier if there's a language barrier between you & the people around you. Shift into the "common language" of art.