This week’s calligraphy prompt was to be inspired by Piet Mondrian, one of the fathers of modern art. His signature works included straight lines with primary colors. It was very graphic and very distinctive. I created this work with a Copic .003 and .07 pen and Sharpee markers. After creating all the straight lines I had to step outside of his typical pattern and add triangles and circles. When challenged with what words to include I thought long and hard. I then could only think of the small words I wrote at the top. I hope Piet would not have minded.
It must have been difficult being one of the first people to use only straight lines and three or four colors to create your art. So many people who go first are misunderstood, ridiculed or dismissed. Because people don’t understand, because you are breaking through a time honored tradition, because you are daring to do something different people all too often become angry and cruel. Things that make us uncomfortable usually end up ignored or broken apart. Instead of admitting our discomfort and thinking about why, we tear it down because we don’t know how to explain it. We avoid the conflict and pretend nothing is different.
I was uncomfortable with this prompt. I had no idea how to be inspired by his work; and I was even more challenged to think about words that I could write. I thought for a long time and then just started creating a piece like his. All straight lines and four simple colors. After I had it all set up, I thought it needed something more, hence the circles and triangles. I had fun mimicking his style, and adding my own touches. I played with the lettering a great deal before I decided to respect the white space and write small. It seemed important in his work that blank areas exist, so I resisted the urge to fill them all in and wrote the saying in tiny letters.
I too was stumped by his straight lines and four colors. I too found it a challenge to gather a new idea. I too was skeptical that anything good could come from this week’s prompt. Then I let go of my own struggle with getting out of the box and embraced his idea of art. I ended up with a piece I greatly enjoy and had fun creating, and that is what this group is all about.
Maybe today is the day for you to get rid of some of your straight lines and venture into a different way of looking at things. Don’t let the boxes you keep maintaining prevent you for seeing the beauty in modern or simple work.