Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Look, I made a Hat

'Look, I made a hat -
where there never was
a hat!'

I'm very fond of quoting from Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George, one of my favorite works by Sondheim and of particular interest because it revolves around a stylized, fictional version of the life of George Seurat, one of my favorite painters.

In the play, fictional George sings of painting a hat on one of his figures in the famous painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. The marvelous lyrics of Sondheim always grab me, leave me breathless on occasion and in this rapid fire song about not only painting a hat, but also about love and life, he embodies a lot of what the artist senses and feels as he works . . . focused solely on his canvas and the life that it exudes.

'Finishing the hat - how you have to finish the hat. How you watch the rest of the world from a window while you finish the hat . . . Studying the hat . . . entering the world of the hat . . . reaching through the world of the hat like a window . . . Finishing the hat. Starting on a hat . . .Look, I made a hat - where there never was a hat.'

I know how fictional George felt as he worked and focused on his hat. I've often said that my life revolves around my drawing board and when I am focused on work, like today in making a hat - where there never was a hat, I derive just as much joy as fictional George did, contemplating life, love and making a hat.

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