A bit more on ‘On not being able to paint’

I’ve been digging into Marion Milner’s book ‘On not being able to paint’ and have been really enjoying this. The book describes Milner’s efforts in trying to learn how to paint, and she takes a psychoanalytic perspective on this. I’m no expert in psychoanalysis and have definitely had to re-read a few bits and pieces to get a better appreciation of their meaning. Even so I have been enjoying the book as an interesting and thoughtful meditation on the creative process and what that can mean for the creative individual. This week I’ve been particularly struck by this quote:

“It now looked as if some of the spiritual dangers to be faced in this matter of coming to see as the painter sees were concerned with the transfiguration of the external world; in fact with a process of giving to it something that came from within oneself, either in an over whelming of a reviving flood. Also this process could be felt as a plunge – a plunge that one could sometimes do deliberately, but which also sometimes just happened, as when one falls in love.”

Last week I struggled to even begin to describe the quality of the light that was created through the stained glass windows of La Sagrada Familia. I think also I was  in complete awe of the sheer scale of that creative effort. I think in part this came from knowing the personal, internal effort that would have been involved in committing the vision of something on that scale to paper, and to see it built, and the vulnerability that would require. This is possibly why this quote has spoken to me this week.

About The Magpie at Midnight

Social scientist, writer, film maker, collagist, maker of things...
This entry was posted in Anxiety, Art, Craft, creative work, Inspiration, making and mental health and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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