Sunday, March 9, 2014

Art and Fear

"Art and Fear" by David Bayles and Ted Orland. Have you read it? If not, I recommend it for all you creative-types. It was assigned to me by more than one professor while I was in college. Here's a quote:

“To require perfection is to invite paralysis. The pattern is predictable: as you see error in what you have done, you steer your work toward what you imagine you can do perfectly. You cling ever more tightly to what you already know you can do – away from risk and exploration, and possibly further from the work of your heart. You find reasons to procrastinate, since to not work is to not make mistakes.”

I feel like those words really ring true for anyone who's ever gone through the creative process - in any artistic medium. Here's how it plays out for me: I feel like my creative energy is like money in a bank. I spend it in different ways - painting, beading, sewing, re-doing furniture, etc. etc. I will wither and die if I don't get this energy out somehow! I know that sounds dramatic, and it is, but that's kind of how it feels. I spend a lot of this energy on projects that I'm working on for a client or a boss. Today I reclaimed some of that energy to use on a painting just for myself. No client, no one else's aesthetic to attend to but my own. The possibilities are so wide open for this big blank canvas that is just MINE. I'm working on an ongoing series of paintings I've been making since I got home from the Peace Corps. I've got 9 paintings now, and countless drawings for more. Though I have been working on other series too during that time (Literary Heroines - both series can be seen here), 9 paintings is not a whole lot for me to have done since 2010. It's sometimes so paralyzing to start a painting in this series. Just like the quote says, I end up procrastinating and working on other things because this series is SO CLOSE and important to me, that I'm afraid to ruin it. If I don't start a painting, I can't ruin it. See what I mean? I've talked to my best friend about this a bit, who is a writer. It's sometimes the projects that are the very closest to your heart that are the hardest to get started on. You want to do them justice. You want to make them as good as you imagine them being in your mind. Today I pushed through those feelings, and just made the first colors appear on the canvas. I'll keep you guys updated ;) And in the meantime: Just. Get. Started. !

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