[Today’s featured artwork for Day 4 of the 365 Days Project is by Leslie Parke]
Curiosity. This hallmark of the Artist Mind can be the most entertaining – and leads to the greatest of discoveries.
#4 – The Artist Mind has the curiosity of a small child (or a cat.)
If I’m hiking on a mountain, I’ll wander off the path to admire a gnarly tree root instead of simply focusing on getting to the summit. When I enter someone’s house for the first time, I sometimes want to quietly explore all the wall hangings, curios and anything else that captures my imagination before concentrating on a conversation. I love people with interesting faces that set my mind sparking with adjectives and free-associations, although it makes me forget to listen to what they are saying. I’m guilty of touching the sculptures in museums.
Albert Einstein believed his genius had more to do with his character: “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
Leslie Parke’s portfolio can be viewed on her website: Leslie Parke
The 365 Days Project
In 2012, Serena Kovalosky committed to writing an article a day for 365 days as an exploration into the lives of artists and the value of creative thinking in our society.
Experience the full evolution of the project! Click below to read the entire collection of articles.
Descriptions of the images included in this post:
China in the River
Leslie Parke, New York, USA
Oil on linen
Leslie Parke, New York, USA
Oil on linen
The old idiom, ‘Curiosity Killed the Cat’ has two terrible flaws. The statement conflates the story of a cat who runs into trouble with a body of water because of some kind of misadventure that put the creature in the path of harm. Oh dear, that may have been an Aesop story of a dog with a bone who saw a dog in the water with a bone. The dry dog wanted the wet dogs bone. He jumped in and realized there was no wet dog with a bone and so jumped out again quite dispirited that he was now wet and there was no extra bone to gnaw on. The dog completely overlooked the fact that it might nearly have drowned for nothing. Thinking in this vein it was Narcissus that came to a terrible end by looking into a pool of water. Of course he was set up by Nemesis who wanted to teach him not to spurn a woman – in this case Echo. Echo unfortunately put all she had into a single stupid guy to the point of wasting away, a shortcoming of many of us girls. Luckily most of us get over this potentially fatal flaw and become more like Nemesis. So just to put a tail on this, Narcissus fell in love with his own image (the dolt) and once he realized it was just an image and his love would forever be unrequited he cast himself into the water and drowned, presumably. Let’s try again. The old idiom, ‘Curiosity Killed the Cat’ has ONE terrible flaw. It is an incomplete account. (That’s not the flaw.) The full saying is,” Curiosity killed the Cat; but satisfaction brought it back.” That is more to my liking as it pairs well with the well established fact that cats have 9-lives. (I still see the cat falling into the water.) Moving on, the flaw is that the first part of the saying is a warning not to get your nose into other peoples’ business, but the original idiom communicates that despite the risks our curiosity may guide us to the fulfillment of a quest-ion. The common expression is pretty watered down right? Furthermore this saying is NOT the original. The saying morphed from “care killed the cat”, which refers more to worry than meddling. If curious look it up. You will find a fine statement about courage. Of course none of this has anything to do with creative curiosity, except maybe the courage part – and the risk part. But seriously now, let’s pause here at this intersection where curiosity and observation cross paths. This is where I think Serena Kovalosky is taking us, on an odyssey of creative exploration that leads us into the guilty pleasure of touching below the surface of things. I think I shall go swimming. Wanna come?
This is an excellent take on how a simple proverb has discouraged creative curiosity for centuries. I love the fascinating history of the proverb and didn’t realize it had it origins in a 1598 play with the “Care killed the cat” version borrowed by Shakespeare. Definitely worth looking up for those who are “curious!” Thank you for your insights!! – SerenaK