We all need some moments of silence in our life and last night was my moment. It was something of a weird evening for me, for I spent most of it sitting around in front of the computer with no music playing and no interest in watching TV. I was basically doing some research and preparing for my bus captain group meeting last night–held online at 9 PM Eastern time–and after I was done with that I managed to write a few hundred words and settle in the bed.
I’m not sure what I was feeling, but the spark of creativity was not there. I think it was my moment to just sit around and veg out.
Yesterday was the introduction to the first day of art class, and we managed to learn a little about Matthias Ellison’s background and why he’s the artistic dude he has become. Today we’re gonna learn what he thinks about art and why it’s important for everyone to have exposure:
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
For the first time since beginning his monologue Matthias began to pace around the studio space, turning to individual students as he spoke. “I love art. I love all forms of artistic expression, but art is one of those things that, like music, reaches right into my soul and touches me in a way few things can. It not only provokes an emotional response, but at the same time it’s stimulating your mind to create an intellectual response as well. And if a particular piece—be it a painting, a song, a passage from a story—is done just right, it can even provoke physical response as well. It might be joy, sadness, or anger, or even passion, but it can happen. And the best are can provoke all three of those things in individual at the same time. There’s little in life that can be said do the same.
“A thriving society needs its artistic community, because it needs the stimulation that come from the appreciation of artistic endeavors. Every society that has grown and thrived throughout history had, at its core, a vibrant artistic base, because—as I see it—artistic endeavor is an offshoot of imagination, and imagination comes from intellectual stimulation.
“The inverse is true: every society that is waning or dying has lost its artistic community, either through negligence or indifference. Once society has decided that art is an indulgence, that it’s something they can’t afford, that it will appeal only to the intellectual community and should therefore be shunned as being too ‘highbrow’ for the majority of people to understand and/or enjoy, then that society, as a whole, begins to die. They have decided that only the lowest common denominator of every form of expression is acceptable, and that the only purpose of art is to be ‘entertaining’. Once that happens, it’s only a matter of time before that society vanishes from the face of this planet.
“Art is essential for a witch, for any of the Aware, because we need our imaginations and artistic expression is one of the best ways to stimulate our imaginations.” Professor Ellison looked at his tablet so we can call on a student without falling back on the four he knew best. “Shauntia, what is the acronym we use to describe the process needed for crafting a spell?”
His feelings about the importance of art in any society is one that’s been echoed from time-to-time by other academics. You see this happening today in the U.S. and it becomes apparent that things like art and music are seen as something to only be enjoyed by “snobs”. Matthias believes this completely and isn’t afraid to say a society that doesn’t embrace it’s arts is one that doesn’t need, or won’t, continue.
And this leads him into one of the reasons witches need art;
Shauntia Okoro didn’t need to consider the answer as it came to her automatically. “VEW, Professor.”
“Correct. VEW: Visualize, Energy, Willpower. But what does this really mean?” He chuckled as he looked about the room, seeing some of the quizzical looks directed his way. “That was a rhetorical question, by the way, but let me show you where I’m going with this—
“Let me work this backwards. At the end there’s willpower, which we all know is the force of your personality that you use to make the spell become real. As I’m sure Professor Douglas and a few of the other instructors of said, your willpower is necessary because you need to essentially override reality. And the stronger your will against reality, the more effective and powerful your spell becomes.
“In the middle we have energy, which you need to power the spell. The energy can be either mystical or dark, but without energy your spell goes nowhere. Doesn’t matter how much willpower you have, if you haven’t allocated energy to your crafting, the end result is nothing.
“But the very first thing on this list, the very first thing you need, is visualization. You not only need to see the shape the spell is going to take, but you have to imagine the end result of your crafting. The very first step crafting magic is to imagine what it is like to reshape reality, and that is artistic expression.
“Every good witch is, at their core, an artist. You not only have to imagine how a spell is going to look, but as you advance through your learnings it becomes necessary to put these three things together in a matter of seconds. Which means, the greater your imagination, the faster you can conceptualize the reshaping of reality.”
Matthias waved his tablet away and set her down gently upon his desk. He began making a slow circuit of the room as he finished his monologue. “Everyone has some sort of artistic ability inside, and as with any talent it needs to be nurtured so that it grow. Now, I can’t say that by the end of this class you’re all going to be equally great artists: that won’t happen because you all different people. And it will be the same with what you draw: I can ask the entire class to draw a scene and each of you will come back with something different. Because you’re showing me your vision; your showing me what you see.
“But that’s what we intend to do in this class: we intend to find your talent, we intend to bring it out, and we intend to help it grow. When you first came to school all but one of you had absolutely no idea how to do magic, and now look at you. Well, you now you find yourself in this room and with the exception of a few, you’re once again unsure about how to draw or paint. We’re going to set about changing that. Together, we’re going to attempt to make an artist out to you. It may not be easy, and at times it’s going to seem super frustrating. But nothing done here at school has ever come easy, so why should what happens in here be any different?”
Matthias laughed as he headed back toward his desk. When he reached it he waved his hand and a holographic projection of the woods to the north of the history and arts building appeared in the open space at the front of the room. “Here’s a good first exercise. If you were to go to the roof of this building this is what you see as you looked towards the observatory. What I want you to do simple: set a sketchpad upon your easel, grab your pencils, and draw what you see. I assure you there’s no right or wrong, and there’s no good or bad. There’s just what you draw.
“And the reason for this is simple: each of you sees the world differently.” Matthias smiled as he looked about the room and saw the sometimes grim, sometimes confused faces of the students. “And once I know what you’re seeing, then maybe I can show you how to see better.”
It is so true here in my world that imagination is the key to being a good witch. Those who have the strongest imaginations are gonna rip reality a new one, and that probably gonna affect anyone standing close by. We know Kerry has a great imagination and Annie has already demonstrated her artistic ability, so could it be that the reason these two are such great witches is because they can visualize better than their fellow witches?
The start of art is over–now we’re on to the next scene and a different kind of seeing…