Scratching - like removing the surface of a lottery ticket, she says, to see if you've won. It's what you do when you go on an artist date seeking inspiration at a museum or botanical gardens. You are scratching when you are enchanted by the coffee-table books and art magazines at Barnes & Noble. Scratching happens when you are people-watching at the airport and see a girl, a darling girl, in a fancy dress with lacy socks and red, curly hair and can't forget her sweet rosey cheeks or the tilt of her head. Small things, little things, tiny things that get stuck in your head and maybe later in your sketchbook and somehow become the tiny spark of light for a bigger project or a new series or theme.
I am scratching when I mine the lyrics of Into the Woods for little ideas that might resonate (and there are so many gems in song lyrics). My favorite form of scratching is to collect names from nametags in restaurants and stores. Unusual names. Names that become characters in a painting just because there was something about that particular name that sparked an idea.
My journal should be called a Scratch Book intead. Filled with scribbled thoughts, sketches, phrases, taped in pieces of paper. None of them worth diddly by themselves, and some of them really not good at all. But Tharp says, "Scratching is not about control and repose. It's about unleashing furious mindless energy and watching it bounce off everything in your path...Let it be awful and awkward and wrong." Just let the ideas flow.
These must be the witch's beans!
We'll take them with us.
Today, dear reader, I give you beans. What you do with them, well, that's where the fun begins!