Back when I wrote regularly for The Polycultural, I had a mini-column I called BohemiaNotes. I chose the title as a play on “bohemian” and a place to document things I thought were cool and somewhat different from the norm in terms of education & creativity. I wrote about Black Mountain College, the 1940s-60s-era NC art school that encouraged studio time and on-campus work as part of their degrees, as well as the Unschooling movement. Unschooling is a type of fluid curriculum where kids are homeschooled, but in a self-directed, creative way.
I intended to review Laren Stover’s Bohemian Manifesto: A Field Guide to Living on the Edge for The Polycultural, but never got around to it. Stover’s book is a pleasant read, filled with anecdotes about bohemians from the nineteenth-century to the late 1960s. She finds stories and quotes about the creative process that are interesting. Her critics might suggest she’s a little slick, a little too commercial–she avoids the downsides of unheated flats and the book is prettily illustrated with cute watercolor beatniks–but still. It’s nice to glamorize artistic eccentrics in this era, which seems so different, so much faster, and yet, sometimes narrow and self-limiting. That’s what I get from The Bohemian Manifesto and a lot of the writers on my blogroll: we have much more creative potential than we give ourselves credit for. How many times have you heard someone say Oh I could never do that? But do we really know until we try?
Recently, I dragged out a bunch of canvases and supplies from my undergrad art classes–as an Art History major, I had to take studio art credits and at the time I was just petrified that I would failfailfail, but it was a really fun experience. I had a great teacher named Eric Lawing–and I was surprised at how much I actually liked the old paintings. Back then, I was obsessed with texture and Monet. Still am, actually–I like texture and roughness more than polish, even in writing.
I’m playing with my art supplies again, inspired by Mae Chevrette. Here’s a mixed-media I did over the weekend and this week, with a Picasso quote from Stover’s book and a copy of a photo taken in Paris years ago. I’m not entirely happy with the smudginess of the letters, but I’m going to keep working on it.