One of the best field trips I've ever taken a class on was to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth. It was a writing trip, so as we took a tour through the museum, our guide asked my students questions meant to help them think deeply about the paintings and sculptures they viewed, or to respond creatively to the work.
There are two moments from this trip I think of often and refer back to when working with young writers.
While viewing a bronze sculpture of a cowboy riding a horse, our guide explained how much work the artist put into the creation of the piece. At first glance you see a horse and rider. But when you look closely, truly inspect the sculpture, all the fine lines and intricate detail becomes clear. Without going back and reworking this piece continually, the final product would not be as striking. It's an excellent lesson on revision.
I was at the Kimball Art Museum recently with my two youngest to see the Picasso and Matisse exhibit. We found ourselves in front of Matisse's Bathers by a River.
|Bathers By a River, Matisse - Art Institute of Chicago|
This has become my favorite painting. I love the message I found in his years of revision; there is meaning there for me as a writer, certainly -- but also as a person. I think we are all a little like Bathers At a River. Starting out as one thing, changing as our knowledge and beliefs evolve, and reworking ourselves to portray the learning we've done through the years.
Tomorrow I'll share my second aha moment from that long ago field trip - and a little more artwork, ask well.