Courting the muse

The madness of art

The Chagford Filmmaking Group's Faery Hut

From Christina Cairn's Inspiration or madness...or both?:

"[T]the unfinished piece holds a kind of magic that the finished piece doesn't, a dynamism and vitality because all the possibilities and potentials still exist.  And that is the exciting part for me as an artist.  Because while that piece stays unfinished, I can hold all those possibilities inside my mind, I can be in all those 'otherworlds' at once.  All those contradictions, and impossibilities can co-exist happily.  I can move around them, look at them from different points of view, try out different reactions to them.  I can thread two together that might seem utterly opposite, and find something beautiful or powerful in that conjunction.  And I think this is often the point where that something 'mystical' happens (if we want to put it like that), as if by putting together two disparate ideas we create a pathway that allows something else to come through, something that feels like it doesn't belong to us.  A secret whispered in our ears by a muse.  Who knows!  

Early morning cobwebs on the path by the stream

"I once told a uni lecturer that I considered myself a 'post-modern humanist', and was told that was impossible because they are utterly contradictory schools of thought.  But it makes sense to me.  I can believe in faeries on one hand, and not believe in them at the same time.  And both are the truth.  I can look at an artwork I have created and see every painstaking line, every problem I had to resolve, remember seeing my hand create this and remember all the thought processes that have gone into it, and see it as nothing more than a thing I have made.  And at the same time I can be amazed and awed by what seems to be so much more than the fruits of my labour, a thing magical with a power of its own that is nothing to do with me." 


Cobwebs…or faeries in flight?

"Anytime that is 'betwixt and between' or transitional is the faeries' favorite time," Brian Froud advises. "They inhabit transitional spaces: the bottom of the garden, existing in a space between manmade cultivation and wilderness. Look for them in the space between nurture and nature, they are to be found at all boarders and boundaries, or on the edges of water where it is neither land nor lake, neither path nor pond. They come when we are half-asleep. They come at moments when we least expect them; when our rational mind balances with the fluid irrational." 

“What is an artist?" the great Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini once asked. "An artist is a provincial who finds himself somewhere between a physical reality and a metaphysical one. It’s this in-between that I’m calling a province, this frontier country between the tangible world and the intangible one. That is the realm of the artist.”


“We work in the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have," said Henry James. "Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.” 

Mystery Man, David Wyatt, Howard Gayton, beside the fire

Fireside at BumblehillImages above: The faery hut in Pigwiggen Wood; cobwebs at dawn (...or are those faeries in flight?); a detail from a painting by Brian Froud; and a summer night at Bumblehill.