I wrote yesterday's little post about my motivation behind art making, and then today found the book Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland at the gift shop at the National Gallery of Art. Synchronicity! I have had this book on my radar for a while but I hadn't read it yet. I bought it, I read it cover to cover, and I even underlined things which isn't typical for me. Get it at the libary! I couldn't, I was too excited to read it. And I definitely need to own a copy now, so I'm glad I sprung for it.
This book is offering clarity. I was ready to hear some of this stuff.
Here are some highlights that struck me:
-"...art is all about starting again." I have been thinking about this. I think it's true with art and everything else. You are always beginning. And then beginning again, and again, and again, and it doesn't seem to get easier. It does get more familiar. Developing any habit involves repeatedly beginning. Sometimes I feel like I am starting over hundreds of times on one painting. And then, there is losing momentum with something (painting, for me). In which case, I realize there have been many days away from my work. The idea of beginning is feeling harder, insurmountable. And still I have to begin again. I have to collect that experience over and over, forever. Off the horse, on the horse, off the horse, on the horse.
-"With individual artworks it means leaving some loose thread, some unresolved issue, to carry forward and explore in the next piece. With larger goals...it means always carrying within you the seed crystal for your next destination." I often recall a conversation with my mom (also an artist) who had just returned from an art retreat, where the instructor had mentioned the idea of flow. Art is a constant flow, and it's in everything we do, and we can only find interesting stopping points on the way. I have held onto this belief since that conversation. Everything that we do is the next step. Or, a next step. Then there will be the next, the next, the next.
-"...vision is always ahead of execution--and it should be." For me, it is a help to consider coexisting peacefully with my "vision." It is so easy to get overwhelmed by what is in my head. Often my thoughts inspire me, jumpstart me, but also they can me feel like I have fallen short of my goal. The authors go on to say, "vision is always ahead of execution, knowledge of materials is your contact with reality, and uncertainty is a virtue." Art is my contact with reality! Well, it's one of my contacts with reality.
I will post more about this later. I think it's good for me to process these concepts by writing here.
Also... museum dates by myself are so dreamy. I look at everything as little or as long as I please, I buy fancy coffee, I read books. I saw the Modern German Prints & Drawings & the Degas/Cassatt exhibit at the National Gallery, then Barbara Kruger at the Hirshhorn.