The Courage to Create
WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 6-8, 2013
The Painter (il miglior fabbro)
24”x30” oil on linen 2013
What role does creativity play in our lives? Is it an inner imperative that helps us forge the well-lived life? This workshop at Esalen, situated along California’s rugged Big Sur coastline, engages with the notion that creativity is a “battle with the gods” in light of its Latin origins in the word creare, the natural urge “to grow or make order of chaos.”
Our point of departure is that creativity is an archetypal journey with recognizable stages, which are especially helpful when we are stuck or lost in our work. For the last thirty years, Phil Cousineau has used his three-stage model — Inspiration, Perspiration, and Realization — as a guide to help writers, artists, and filmmakers to deepen and complete their work. The artist Gregg Chadwick uses his own artwork and anecdotes from his lifelong study of painters to provide an inside look at practices that will help us find a balance between inspiration and the marketplace, traditional notions of beauty with daring acts of innovation, and personal discipline with the importance of building community. Together, they will alternate lecture, discussion, movie clips, slide shows, readings, and exercises that encourage cross-fertilization between the visual arts and the written word.
This workshop is designed for creative souls in every field who hope to rekindle their imagination and passion, and renew their sense of joy.
Recommended reading: Cousineau, Stoking the Creative Fires and The Art of Pilgrimage; Cousineau and Chadwick, The Painted Word.
Die Kathedrale Der Bücher (The Cathedral of Books)
36”x48” oil on linen 2013
Phil Cousineau is a freelance writer, filmmaker, teacher, and youth baseball coach. He has published more than 30 books, including the bestselling The Hero’s Journey: The Life and Work of Joseph Campbell. He has written award-winning documentary films, and is the host of “Global Spirit,” a nationally broadcast series on LINK TV and PBS.
Gregg Chadwick creates his artwork in an old airplane hangar in Santa Monica, California. The recurring sound of airplane take-offs and landings from the active airport runway outside his studio reminds him of his own history of travel. Chadwick has exhibited his artworks in galleries and museums both nationally and internationally. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree at UCLA and a Master’s Degree at NYU, both in Fine Art. He has had notable solo exhibitions at the Manifesta Maastricht Gallery (Maastricht, The Netherlands), Space AD 2000 (Tokyo, Japan), the Sandra Lee Gallery (San Francisco), and the Lisa Coscino Gallery (Pacific Grove) among others. He has participated in nearly one hundred group exhibitions including at the di Rosa Preserve’s Off the Preserve (Sonoma), the San Francisco Art Institute, the Sonoma Museum of Visual Art, the Monterey Art Museum, the LOOK Gallery (Los Angeles), the Arena 1 Gallery (Santa Monica), and the Arts Club of Washington (Washington DC). Chadwick’s art is notably included in the collections of the Adobe Corporation, the Gilpin Museum, the Graciela Hotel in Burbank, the Harbor Court Hotel in San Francisco; the Kimpton Group’s headquarters in San Francisco, the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Nordstrom Company Headquarters, the W Hotel Hollywood, and Winona State University.
Chadwick is frequently invited to lecture on the arts; in 2011-13 he spoke at UCLA, Monterey Peninsula College, the Esalen Institute, and at the World Views forum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands as well as at Categorically Not, a monthly forum that considers the arts and science, in May 2013.
Pennsylvania 4901 on Flickr.
54”x54” oil on linen 2013
On Saatchi Online
Orpheus and Eurydice in the 21st Century: R.B. Kitaj, Rilke, and Arcade Fire (Part 1)
by Gregg Chadwick
Last night the L.A. Louver Gallery held a rousing discussion: R.B. Kitaj’s Life & Passion, with Tracy Bartley (director of the R.B. Kitaj studio), Derek Boshier (artist), David N. Myers (professor and chair of the UCLA History Department), and Paul Holdengräber (curator, instigator and Director/Founder of LIVE from the New York Public Library).
Orpheus and Eurydice 15 9/16” x 20 7/8” oil on wood ca. 1508–12
Accademia Carrara, Bergamo
photo courtesy Metropolitan Museum, New York
As I listened to the conversation, I scanned the room full of many of Kitaj’s last paintings and was struck by the realization that in these artworks Kitaj was attempting to bring his deceased wife Sandra back from death - Kitaj as the poet/artist incarnation of the mythic Orpheus would bring Sandra (his Eurydice, taken too soon) back from the underworld. These vibrant paintings were not just a testament to their passion but instead an almost alchemical journey into the mystery and abyss of life, loss, and love.
In the myth, Orpheus travels to the underworld to win back the life of Eurydice, who was bitten by a serpent (seen above in the left vignette of Titian’s painting from the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo, Italy) and died shortly after the two wed. Orpheus plays music of such beauty for Hades, master of the underworld, that he allows Eurydice to return to Earth with Orpheus. But with the strict condition that Orpheus walk in front of Eurydice and never look back during their journey from the depths. Overcome by an anxious fear, Orpheus breaks his discipline and turns to look back at his reborn Eurydice only to cause her to vanish forever.
Los Angeles No. 27 (Go Down)
36” x 36” oil on canvas 2003–4
photo courtesy L.A. Louver Gallery
When I reached home, Reflektor - the new album from Arcade Fire, was already downloading onto my computer. The songs on this album also engage with the story of Orpheus and Eurydice.
Auguste Rodin’s marble statue of Orpheus and Eurydice, from the Metropolitan Museum in New York, graces Reflektor’s album cover. This image portrays the essential kernel of the myth, themytheme of not looking back, which is also reflected in the Biblical story of Lot’s wife escaping from Sodom and the Grimms’ folk tale Hansel and Gretel.
24”x30” oil on linen 2013
My new painting Mulholland Blue also engages with the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. In my work, an Orpheus-like character in the foreground vanishes as a green dressed Eurydice figure slips into the distance. The distant lights of the city glisten in the night air. Does she stand for a moment to view the world she will never return to? Or is our 21st century urbanity the underworld?
In upcoming posts I will consider these questions as well as diving much more deeply into R.B. Kitaj, Rilke, and Arcade Fire. Next up in Part 2: Rilke Releases Eurydice. I hope you will join me.