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The Passionately Curious

November 29, 2011

Passion – Strong feeling, intense emotion; violent rage or fury.

Think of a baby…now think about this definition.  Babies and young children are basically passionately curious.  What becomes of them?

I recently read a quote by none other then Albert Einstein,  “I have no special talents, I am only passionately curious”.  What an understatement!!  Where Einstein had the edge was that he never lost his child-like curiosity.

I would say that for the most part, professional artists are passionately curious.  This is what drives us all to investigate a subject so intently that we are able to portray it with the skills of a master illusionist.  Think about it for a minute.  The materials we use to craft our illusion seem rather ubiquitous.  We might use paint and canvas, wood, stone, threads or clay but with courage and effort these everyday objects become works of art.  It is our child-like curiosity that drives us to create, drives us to see what we can get away with.

We are all born passionately curious but the dog days of school, jobs and drudgery tend to drive curiosity from most of our psyches.  We get glimpses of it now and then when asked to create or to change but as Greg Morres (author of Learn Our Heart Virtues) states,  for the most part we live with mediocrity, yearning for the passion.  No need for despair, this curiosity can be rekindled!

I have been teaching regular classes for beginner/intermediate painters since the end of the summer.  I have seen my student’s fears of making ‘mistakes’ dwindle and their willingness to take chances increase.  The classes are now ‘ abuzz’ from beginning to end and the students are regularly exploring the ‘what if?’ principle, often written about by Robert Genn.  Their curiosity is definitely on the rise and they are beginning to experience the magic of the brush…..the passion found in their creative spirit.

As a whole it would be nice to see the human race reignite this part of our being….take a chance on relinquishing fears, get re-acquainted with the natural world and ask ourselves “what if?’ a whole lot more often than we do now.  Keep asking questions but above all keep curious.

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