We who dabble in art, those of us hungry for opportunities to bring out our creativity, people wanting more avenues of personal expression and satisfaction, somehow find their way to Charu Colorado. Charu’s been a practicing artist for more than 60 years. Once again her own creative drive urges her into a new avenue of inquiry and practice. So, at the age of 87, she’s decided to give a workshop called “Experiencing the Artist Within,” which allows her to create experiences for her students based on Leonardo daVinci’s seven “ingenious principles.”
Charu resonates with the renaissance genius, herself experiencing life through what he called curiosita, sensazione, sfumato, connessione, and the like. A communicator as much as she is an artist and art teacher, she shared her thoughts with her recent class participants on the SOU campus.
“I knew I was going to be an artist” as a child, she said. Growing up, she watched her parents’ meticulous attention to the details of home life and business, and from them, took on the left-brain sense of order. She investigated within herself the idea of “play versus have-tos and shoulds,” and she saw that the “’how-to’ is how to excite that (play) part of yourself.”
“Learning to draw – it isn’t getting the skill – it’s learning to see.” Or, as Leonardo said, “You need to learn to notice.”
She exhorted her students to “suspend skepticism and your judgments. This is a class for changing your mind.” Part way through the weekend-long class, a student remarked that the workshop was putting her “off base. But that’s good!” Charu worked on her students by bringing out materials that are unusual, that challenge the commonly held self-image, “I’m not an artist; I’m not creative.”
Negative pattern-busting is an underlying theme with Charu. “The self images that we have are just in our minds,” she said. It’s limiting, always “doing the right thing. The left brain says, ‘I have to understand the process before I can begin.’” So Charu sets out to quiet the left brain and support right brain expression.
Earlier in her career, Charu studied and taught anatomy, striving for perfect realism, thinking that equaled perfect art. Since then, she’s “learned to let the pencil draw the picture, (to work) from the inside out. We must realize that our own creativity comes from inside us.
“If you’re trying to be creative (when doing a project), you should surprise the hell out of yourself,” she admonished the class.
“Self consciousness is always a veil…In this workshop, I’m challenging you.”