(Is it me?!)
A trip on the train today to London to see this, also gave me the time to read some more of this book. I thoroughly recommend them both!
I've come home with pages and pages of sketches in my little sketchbook, some interesting and inspiring thoughts about abstract art (something that's been noodling around in my head for a few weeks now anyway) mixed up with deep thoughts about the tricky business of being an introvert in an extrovert world.
I was brought up (a) in a largely extrovert family, and (b) with the understanding that work should be useful - and by useful I mean in a very obvious, tangible, practical way - e.g. being a doctor, scientist, teacher etc. So it's only natural that I've always struggled with being (a) an introvert, and (b) someone who creates things. See? I can't even write "artist"!
So to see the evidence - that 40,000 years ago people were carving both abstract and realistic forms from mammoth tusks and bones - imagining things, ideas - and representing them using lines, dots, curves - well, that must make it OK to be someone who creates things. Yes?
The abstract thing? I struggle with expressing myself, artistically. Most of what I stitch is for teaching purposes, not self-expression. Whenever I try doing something personal, I struggle because I keep trying to make pictures or useful things or recognisable things.
But the big thing about this exhibition was to show that the abstract forms and decorations created thousands upon thousands of years ago are just like the abstract forms and decorations created now. Alongside the carved mammoth tusks and reindeer bones were modern abstract sketches, paintings and sculptures.
And I think I'm beginning to understand. Some of the words in the exhibition described abstraction as requiring an "imaginative mind - to be able to symbolise and give meaning to form wtihout being realistic".
So as well as it being OK to create things, it's OK to create things that might or might not look like recognisable things. Yes?!
And finally the introversion thing. Is it hard to be an artist and an introvert? Is it because I like to keep my thoughts to myself that I find myself "stuck" with my art? Is it an inability to express my innermost thoughts, a subconscious refusal to express my thoughts, or just that I have no thoughts worth expressing?!
And is it just part of being an introvert, that whenever I create something and put it "out there", I will then be wracked with self-doubt? Do extrovert artists have an easier time of it?
If you don't know whether you're an introvert or extrovert, or what type of introvert/extrovert you are, have a go at this little quiz. I love this stuff!