Session Nine – 10th March 2016 – The Belfry Arts Centre

The Change Minds group returned to The Belfry Arts Centre in Overstrand with Martin Figura, poetry and creative writing and Nora Gaston, artist.

Martin started the session by reading a poem.

Why I am not a painter

imageI am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why?  I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not.  Well,

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting.  I drop in.
“Sit down and have a drink” he
says.  I drink; we drink.  I look
up.  “You have SARDINES in it”.
“Yes, it needed something there”.
“Oh”.  I go and the days go by
and I drop in again.  The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by.  I drop in.  The painting is
finished.  “Where’s SARDINES?”
All that’s left is just
letters, “It was too much”, Mike says.

But me?  One day I am thinking of
a color: orange.  I write a line
about orange.  Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page.  There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life.  Days go by.  It is even in
prose, I am a real poet.  My poem
is finished and I haven’t mentioned
orange yet.  It’s twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES.  And one day in a gallery
I see Mike’s painting, called SARDINES.

By Frank O’Hara

imageThe group discussed the poem.  Felt that this was a much looser and more conversational poem.  People talked about the feeling conjured up by the word ‘sardines‘ like being ‘closed in’, ‘in a tin’.  A discussion about the subtext going on underneath, ‘like a play, a little drama, more like a performance with different layers that makes up the poem’.  A similar process of creativity for the painter and the poet.  The poem uses everyday language to describe quite a complex process of creativity.  Discussion about the journey taken through creativity, the orange and sardine were the starting point and the resulting poem and painting were the result of this journey.  Also someone mentioned that it’s difficult to rhyme the word orange!  Also you can visualise something in the painting – not necessarily sardines!  What do you think?

imageimageNora Gaston then introduced the group to the visual creative part of the session.  Showing a display of books that she has made to inspire the group to have a go at making their own books, based on their case studies.  Discussion about the expression of colour asking what do you think of when you think of the colour red?  ‘Stop’, ‘danger’, ‘passion’.  Interesting that participants interpreted the same colour in different ways with thoughts about how to choose a colour depending on the mood that you want to create and how people can associate different colours to different emotions.  Nora suggested also adding other items to the books, words, pictures, feathers, music, maps.  Talked about how this process was individual to each person, a personal interpretation.

The rest of the morning was a creative buzz with the group experimenting with colour, creating books and finding interesting pictures/objects to put into their books.