Thursday, January 20, 2011

Art & Fear = Paint & Progress

I'm beginning a new painting in a new series. Perhaps it's the second painting in this series. I have a very specific creative process when I'm starting a new work. It involves an onslaught of imagery flitting through my mind, contemplation, waiting for that imagery to coagulate, and a sort of useful procrastination as the need to create builds into a frenzy of energy. But that energy floats anxiously in an ocean of fear as I finally touch paintbrush to white canvas. These marks seem so crucial as they set the stage for the rest of the painting as I respond to the marks I've just made- and on and on until it's done. Even though these marks will ultimately be hidden, it's this stage that can be the most nervewracking.

Let's be clear. I panic. Every time. I convince myself I don't know what I'm doing. But I have some confidence. By now I know it's just part of my process. And ultimately it's the fear and the unknown that keeps me going- because it's discovery that I'm really after. The chance to learn from what comes out of this process and to see something that I couldn't put words to if I tried. And thus it begins. Again.

"Making art now means working in the face of uncertainty; it means living with doubt and contradiction, doing something no one much cares whether you do, and for which there may be neither audience nor reward. Making the work you want to make means setting aside these doubts so that you may see clearly what you have done, and thereby see where to go next. Making the work you want to make means finding nourishment within the work itself. This is not the Age of Faith, Truth, and Certainty."
--- from the book Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking