Sunday, February 21, 2016

Change is a Monster

“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” 

Image result for frankenstein
This quote came to mind recently. As you may know, I experienced a great and sudden change last week when my carefully laid-out trays of pastel sticks leapt off the table and scattered themselves across my studio floor.

Imagine confetti during a parade down 5th Avenue in New York City, only not nearly as much fun.

I’m usually fairly careful about the way my pastel trays are organized; like hues in one area, arranged lightest to darkest. That way I know that if I’m looking for a dark dull warm red, it’s going to be in one small area, maybe 20 square inches. If it’s not there, I don’t own it. No time is wasted pawing through blues or yellows; lights or brights, scouring acres of potential for just the right color.


Locating a particular stick of pigment became automatic, just the way I like it. No time for distraction, there’s a painting waiting for attention.

It has been proven that the brain loves patterns and habits. Over time certain movements are hard wired into the circuitry of our grey matter so that no time is lost thinking about, well, everything. This explains why Frankenstein’s monster walked so oddly. Where your brain and mine take over the complex task of placing one foot in front of the other, balancing and coordinating hundreds of muscles, the monster had to figure it out on the go, so to speak. If he’d had a chance to practice just a little longer before his official debut to the public, things might have turned out differently.

A hundred years or so later, Henry Ford, industrialist and car collector, said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

Since Doctor Frankenstein made a monster and that didn’t go so well, I’ll listen to Ford and accept some change. My pastels are now, rather brazenly I think, arranged in a manner that has my brain saying, “huh?”


Look out Madame Frankenstein. There’s a new bride in town.

My brain’s circuits are humming with change. I reach for a habitual warm blue and find a brighter, greener color in its place. A tangy scarlet has replaced a more humble red - why not grab it and see what happens? What, am I going to create a monster?

2016 Patricia Scarborough    Promise   12x12 pastel
Well, sometimes yes, but more often than not, my brain is pleased with the new activity.

I'm not suggesting that you go all Doctor Frankenstein and start making great and sudden changes, but a little tweak to the usual can get you to new and interesting places.

2 comments:

Cathyann Burgess said...

Lemonade, indeed from casita bouts unintended. wOnderfully warm piece. glad to see you working in dust!:-)

Patty said...

Who'd a thunk I'd miss that scratchy feeling?!