Monday, July 20, 2009

On the Wisdom of Sandy Scott – Master Artist

At Loll I attend Church in a grove of spruce and fir, overlooking Lake of the Woods. I am want to say that while the Pope had the Divine Michaelangelo to decorate his chapel, mine was made by God Himself, without a middleman. Two Sundays ago, a loon sang throughout the whole meeting, the voice of an angle. This past Sunday, Taylor Pulver and Quinn McBride - on guitar and harmonica, performed a song they had made. As the music was not recorded, I wondered if its beauty and truth would ever exist again in the world. Art, nature, music, a summer at camp, love; all crafted by obedience to Law, to be remade again and again. Beauty, infinitely different; truth, eternally the same.

I have been reading the writing of master artist, Sandy Scott, who made my moose. Let me share her wisdom. (References are from The Spirit of the Wilde Things – the Art of Sandy Scott.)

On learning from the past to be creative today.

“It is inexcusable for an artist working today not to know and study the finest examples of sculpture handed down through the ages – to be aware of what was done before. Basic and time-honored artistic principles will always stand up as the taste of the times and look of the day change.” (pg. 104)

On spontaneity based on structure:

“There must be meaningful, strong and understood structure and shape – only then can one edit and simplify. The more that is known, the more that can be eliminated.” (pg. 140)

On mastering simple, basic shapes; the base ideas:

“Simple shapes are the foundation of drawing, and to draw accurately we must use all these shapes – circles, squares,triangles,rectangle, ovals, etc. -- in correct relation to each other.” (pg 144)

On learning in the academy:

“In years past, art students learned in academies and continued their education under the direction of a master in ateliers and working studios. In the academic tradition the student would assist the master by making plaster casts from life, taking endless measurements and making accurate drawings, He would learn mold-making, resizing, point-up and carving. His responsibilities would surely include keeping the clay models covered and moist as well as sweeping the floors, watering the plants and looking after the studio cats.”

“In exchange, the apprentice received a small amount of money, if any, and an occasional critique of his own work by the master.” (pg 158)

Now I will be a bit presumptuous and ask my camp related readers to relate all this to camp. To you who have other important goals, think of them as your art and take Ms. Scott's counsel and apply the truths you see to your life you seek.


Reach Upward said...

Thank you for posting quotes from Ms. Scott. I was looking forward to reading these, having discussed them with you in your office last Saturday.

I have thought about that conversation all week long, and I must agree with you that the running of a Scout camp is an art form. I also agree that mastering this art comes from much practice of the art.

Just this evening, my brother Lynn and I were discussing the skits at Loll's flag pole. He mentioned how they not only effectively advertise specific activities; they also are worked into a week-long theme that builds to a climax that can only be fully appreciated by those that have experienced each segment throughout the week.

I explained last Saturday's audition of a new Rock Jock skit, and how this variation on a theme is deeply rooted in well established structure -- a structure that is based on years of development and honing.

I appreciate having learned at the master's hand.

Lysis said...

Reach Upward,

I have a sick boy in the shower, and it looks like its going to be a long night as his father and I prepare his bed on the floor of our men's room. I am waiting for him to finish his shower and it is a most welcome diversion to spend this time with you.

I had a great complement payed our camp this week thanks to your son. The leader of the troop to which Ben is assigned praised him by name – and then mentioned how his first impression of Ben had been rooted in the length of Ben's hair. He said, that in no time he came to realize that “this was a special boy, and truly fine young man,” who was a positive and lasting influence on the boys in his troop. It is gratifying to see excellence passing over the generations. He told me that Ben and his partner were the best troop friends he has ever had. I guess he never had you.

Reach Upward said...

No, I think the second generation is an improvement on the first! Thank you for giving Ben the opportunity to spend time working on staff this year.