Gleanings before the Fire

Paddington soaking up the Fire

The two months Picasso spent in Gósol were crucial for the development of his new aesthetic. Rustic retreats . . . were essential to restoring his peace of mind, but they were usually periods of consolidation and reflection rather than innovation. They formed necessary interludes between extended stays in Paris where, plunging into the roiling cross-currents of that most intellectually stimulating environment, he was exposed to new ideas, new modes of thought. It was there that the real creative breakthroughs were made.

Miles J. Unger, Picasso and the Painting That Shocked the World

This morning’s fireside time brought the above text to my reading attention. My heart always glows at the thought of a creative spirit retreating to the wilderness as Picasso did when he spent two months in the village town of Gósol high up in the Pyrenees range. This “airing out” time was good for his restless spirit as he determined a new direction for his art. I myself now seek such a clearing as I am within two weeks of starting up another semester at the university along with keeping other art-related appointments in addition to the weekly gallery responsibilities.

As I read, my mind ranged far and wide, calling up other creative spirits seeking solitude and respite from the demanding crowds of their day. Henry David Thoreau at Walden, Friedrich Nietzsche in the Alps, Martin Heidegger in the Black Forest, John the Baptist in the trans-Jordanian wilderness, Jackson Pollock in Springs, Long Island, Henri Matisse at Collioure, Paul Gauguin at Martinique. In each case we find a solitary individual seeking strength in an environement uncluttered by people flooded with discontent over everyday affairs.

Cabin in Progress

Time to get back to work. Thanks for reading.


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