Contexts – and cleaning the brushes

Two throughts for the day come from my occasional excursion into the world of drawing and painting. The first drawing class of the year started this week. The instructor stressed the point of seeing things in context and proportion – how one thing relates to another. It’s a good reminder that context matters in any endeavour – and how we plan has to include where we are now as well as where we want to be. If you are mapping hopes and dreams for the future, it’s good to put the current reality on the map as well.

We do have to start somewhere. One writer on the arts, Robert Genn, is my inspiration for trying to write here twice a week. He’s been writing as well as painting for years, and his twice weekly email newsletter appear in several languages. He often responds to queries. A recent one asked him how he cleaned his paintbrushes. He confessed that basically he didn’t. He just left them soaking in soapy water. Part of the reason for this approach was that he remembered a student from his early art school days who spent so much time cleaning his brushes that he never actually got around to painting. When the student decided to enter dentistry, Genn inherited a veritable art store of supplies all neatly labelled.

One of the latest books actually encourages mess, – as though it in its own right led to creativity. But it doesn’t either. Ordering your ideas and your life are more likely to take you where you hope to go. You have to do something. So use mind mapping as a quick way to get your hopes and dreams launched on paper. You have to dive into a map and avoid just buying more and more coloured pencils.