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One step at a time

December 13, 2012

Small oil pastel sketch of boxes

A few thoughts about getting unstuck:

  1.  Having a deadline helps—for instance, getting work ready to submit for a specific show can be a great catalyst. Even if you are not getting ready for a show, you can set goals for finishing specific pieces. I use a Google calendar to keep me on track.
  2. Looking at other artists’ work gets me jumping with ideas. Start a scrapbook with pictures of other artists’ work that you like. You can use it to stimulate ideas for your own work.
  3. Don’t be afraid to repurpose your own art work. I save everything. Sometimes the edges of one picture that were torn off for a collage get incorporated into another. And cutting up old drawings can be a rich source of images.
  4.  Think about progress differently than as a linear path. Art is not the same as life. It’s more like soup—it gets richer the more ingredients you add. Envision it more as if it were an enrichment…as a pool, each experience creating a ripple like a stone dropped into a pool…ever-widening circles that dissolve into a larger reality.
  5. Small pencil sketch of random doodlingStop thinking about legitimacy. Be confident—not of some artificial artist role you’ve dreamt up and are wiggling around inside of, but because you are creating from the heart with truth. So, if I am making art and writing authentically FOR ME, that’s enough. It may be great or it may be humble, but it’s mine. That’s a good place to start…and stay.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Gary permalink
    December 14, 2012 10:19 am

    I like your thoughts on this one… that your art is “yours” and does not have to live up to some imaginary purpose or group or expectation. There will be those who like it, those who love it (focus on these people), and those who don’t like your work (never mind these people). I’m sure the great artists of old had many critics, many naysayers, those who said that their work would never sell or be accepted… but they did it anyway, and rest is history. Dr. Seuss had many critics, over 20 publishers turned him down saying his work was “too cartoonish”. Then one publisher said they liked it, and took a chance and published his work…and we all know how that turned out!
    I say, be true to yourself, and things will fall into place in due time…


    • December 14, 2012 5:38 pm

      Hi Gary,

      Thank you for reaffirming my notion that you have to satisfy yourself when you are making art. I think there is always a risk in creating if you are trying to please others, whether for economic or popularity reasons. I believe that artists express a unique vision that comes from within, and that can get compromised if an artist strays from their personal source of inspiration. Your point about Dr. Seuss is well taken! I also read recently that Van Gogh died a pauper…but look how much his art work sells for now–millions!


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