Inspirations from my museum visit

Palmer Museum of Art

I visited the Palmer Museum of Art yesterday. It’s a small museum located within Penn State’s campus with 2 floors worth of art works from paintings to pottery to prints.

I enjoyed the artists’ self-portrait exhibit (which runs until May 27, 2012). I was struck most by Fritz Eichenberg (1901-1990), The Artist and the Seven Deadly Sins (1975).

Fritz Eichenberg, The Artist and the Seven Deadly Sins (1975)
Can you guess which Sin is which?

As soon as I saw this wood engraving it reminded me of a quote written by author Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird (incidentally, I highly recommend this book). She states when you sit down to write (or draw)

“your mental illnesses arrive at the desk like your sickest, most secretive relatives. And they pull up chairs in a semicircle around the computer, and they try to be quiet but you know they are there with their weird coppery breath, leering at you behind your back.”

I found this quote to be deliciously creepy but, oh, so true! However, I love that the description panel next to the art work helped me think of Lamott’s words in a new light.

“In this self-portrait, Eichenberg depicts himself at work, surrounded by the Seven Deadly Sins, who seem to admire or even perhaps inspire his creative process.”

Next time I feel my inner critics leering over my shoulder I’ll welcome them and smile and then use them to feed my work.

Inspirations from my museum visit

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