Pearls from artists* # 528
*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
There are so many good reasons to stop complaining if you want to live a more creative life.
First of all, it’s annoying. Every artist complains, so it’s a dead and boring topic. (From the volume of complaints that emerges from the professional creative class, you would think these people had been sentenced to their vocations by an evil dictator, rather than having chosen their line of work with a free will and open heart).
Second, of course it’s difficult to create things; if it wasn’t difficult, everyone would be doing it, and it wouldn’t be special or interesting.
Third, nobody ever really listens to anybody else’s complaints, anyhow, because we’re all too focused on our own holy struggle, so basically, you’re just talking to a brick wall.
Fourth, and most important, you’re scaring away inspiration. Every time you express a complaint about how difficult and tiresome it is to be creative, inspiration takes another step away from you, offended. It’s almost like inspiration puts up its hands and says, “Hey, sorry buddy! I didn’t realize my presence was such a drag. I’ll take my business elsewhere.”
Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic: Creative living Beyond Fear
Comments are welcome!
Posted in 2022, Art in general, Inspiration, New York, NY, Pearls from Artists, Quotes
Comments Off on Pearls from artists* # 528
Tags: "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear", almost, annoying, another, anybody, artist, basically, boring, business, complaining, complains, complaints, create, creative, dictator, difficult, Elizabeth Gilbert, elsewhere, emerges, everyone, express, focused, important, inspiration, interesting, listens, New York, nobody, offended, people, presence, professional, rather, realize, really, reasons, scaring, sentenced, special, struggle, talking, things, tiresome, vocations, volume
Q: Do you have a daily ritual that helps you start working in your studio?
A: In the morning before I start working on a pastel painting, I read for roughly half an hour. Usually I read something art-related; for example, see the books that are quoted on Wednesdays in “Pearls from artists” on this blog.
As I’m reading, I look across at the painting on my easel and soon something becomes apparent, some annoying thing that needs immediate attention. That’s where I will begin. As I’m looking, of course, I’m thinking and the solution to a technical problem becomes obvious. Before I know it, I’m up and working, slowly improving the painting as I go.
Comments are welcome!
Posted in 2015, An Artist's Life, Creative Process, Pastel Painting, Photography, Studio, Working methods
Comments Off on Q: Do you have a daily ritual that helps you start working in your studio?
Tags: annoying, apparent, application, art-related, attention, before, course, determine, immediate, improving, looking, morning, obvious, painting, pastel, Pearls from Artists, problem, quoted, reading, ritual, roughly, slowly, solution, something, Studio, technical, thinking, usually, Wednesdays, working
Pearls from artists* # 102
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
That a photograph is unlikely to be a laboratory record is evident when we think about how it is made. Most photographers are people of immense enthusiasms whose work involves many choices – to brake the car, grab the yellow instead of the green filter, wait out the cloud, and at the second everything looks inexplicably right, to release the shutter. Behind these decisions stands the photographer’s individual framework of recollections and meditations about the way he perceived that place or places like it before. Without such a background there would be no knowing whether the scene on the ground glass was characteristic of the geography and of his experience of it and intuition of it – in short, whether it was true.
Making photographs has to be, then, a personal matter; when it is not, the results are not persuasive. Only the artist’s presence in the work can convince us that its affirmation resulted from and has been tested by human experience. Without the photographer in the photograph the view is no more compelling than the product of some annoying record camera, a machine perhaps capable of happy accident but not response to form.
Beauty in Photography by Robert Adams
Comments are welcome!
Posted in 2014, An Artist's Life, Art in general, Creative Process, Inspiration, New York, NY, Pearls from Artists, Photography, Quotes, Working methods
Tags: "Beauty in Photography", affirmation, annoying, background, before, behind, brake, camera, capable, car, characteristic, choices, cloud, compelling, convince, decisions, enthusiasms, everything, evident, experience, filter, form, framework, geography, grab, green, ground glass, happy accident, human, immense, individual, inexpicably, intuition, involves, knowing, laboratory, looks, machine, made, making, matter, meditations, New York, people, perceived, perhaps, personal, persuasive, photograph, photographers, place, presence, product, recollections, record, release, response, resulted, results, right, Robert Adams, scene, second, shutter, stands, tested, think, true, unlikely, view, whether, without, work, yellow
Q: Have you ever worked outside?
A: As a pastel artist I’ve never worked outside – with so many pastels, it’s just not practical – but early on in the “Domestic Threats” series, I created two outdoor setups. Works in the series derived from elaborate scenes that I arranged and then photographed.
I used to take long walks along the Potomac River in Alexandria, VA, and there was a tree stump that was fascinating. It was mostly twisted roots, knotty branches, dark hidden spaces, etc. (top painting in photo). One morning I took several hand puppets and stuffed animals (my subject matter at the time) and carefully arranged them on the tree. Around me people were busy exercising their dogs. Soon I attracted quite a bit of attention – a tall blonde woman playing with puppets on a tree stump! Dogs came over to sniff. Their owners came over, too, and I was pressed into explaining, again and again, that I was an artist, that I was photographing this scene so I could paint it, etc. The interruptions were very annoying.
The second time I tried an outdoor setup was again along the Potomac River, but this time I selected a secluded strip of beach where I was undisturbed. I had forgotten to consider the light and inadvertently chose a cloudy day. I remember being disappointed that the light was flat and lacking shadows. The painting (bottom in photo) turned out to be one of my least favorites.
I resolved from then on to focus on interiors. Alfred Hitchcock famously used rear projection so that he could work in a studio rather than on location. One reason, he said, was that in a studio he had total control. I know what he meant. When I set up an interior scene and position the lights to make interesting shadows, indeed, I have control over the whole look. No aspect is left to chance. The accidents – improvements! – happen later when I work on the painting.
Comments are welcome!
Posted in 2013, An Artist's Life, Creative Process, Domestic Threats, Pastel Painting, Photography, Working methods
Comments Off on Q: Have you ever worked outside?
Tags: "Blue Ego", "Cardinal Rule", accidents, Alexandria_VA, Alfred Hitchcock, annoying, arrange, artist, attention, attract, begin, blonde, bottom, branch, busy, carefully, chance, cloudy, control, create, creative process, dark, day, disappointed, distracted, dog, Domestic Threats, elaborate, exercising, explaining, fascinating, hand puppet, happenr, hidden, interesting, interior, interrupt, knotty, late, least favorite, light, location, look, morning, nothing, original, outside, owner, paint, particular, pastel, pastel painting, people, photo, photograph, planning, playing with puppets, position, Potomac River, press, rear projection, reason, resolve, river, root, Saturday, scene, secluded, second, series, setup, shadow, sniff, space, strip, Studio, stuffed animal, subject matter, tall, time, top, total, tree stump, twisted, unobserved, walk, walking, woman, work