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Pearls from artists* # 231

Working on "Charade"

Working on “Charade”

* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.

This is the one experience that has been confirmed repeatedly and to which I have progressed slowly after a fearful, despondent childhood:  that the true advances of my life could not be brought about by force, but occur silently, and that I prepare for them while working quietly and with concentration on the things that on a deep level I recognize to be my tasks.

The Poet’s Guide to Life:  The Wisdom of Rilke, edited and translated by Ulrich Baer

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Start/Finish of “Charade”

Charcoal underdrawing

Charcoal underdrawing

"Charade," soft pastel on sandpaper, 38" x 58"

“Charade,” soft pastel on sandpaper, 38″ x 58″

Comments are welcome!

 

 

Pearls from artists* # 216

Working on "Charade"

Working on “Charade”

* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.

This is true for all artists, not only writers.

The writing life requires courage, patience, persistence, empathy, openness, and the ability to deal with rejection.  It requires the willingness to be alone with oneself.  To be gentle with oneself.  To look at the world without blinders on.  To observe and withstand what one sees.  To be disciplined, and at the same time, take risks.  To be willing to fail – not just once, but again and again, over the course of a lifetime.  “Ever tried, ever failed,” Samuel Beckett once wrote.  “No matter.  Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better.”  It requires what the great editor Ted Solotoroff once called endurability.  It is this quality, most of all, that I think of when I look around a classroom at a group of aspiring writers.  Some of them will be more gifted than others.  Some of them will be driven, ambitious for success or fame, rather than by the determination to do their best possible work.  But of the students I have taught, it is not necessarily the most gifted, or the ones most focused on imminent literary fame (I think of these as short sprinters), but the ones who endure, who are still writing, decades later.

Dani Shapiro in Still Writing:  The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life

Comments are welcome!

Pearls from artists* # 197

"Charade," soft pastel on sandpaper, 38" x 58"

“Charade,” soft pastel on sandpaper, 38″ x 58″

* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.

As Kenneth Burke says in ‘Counter-Statement:’  “[Great] artists feel as opportunity what others feel as menace.  This ability does not, I believe, derive from exceptional strength, it probably arises purely from professional interest the artist may take in his difficulties.”  

Marianne Moore in Writers at Work:  The Paris Review Interviews Second Series, edited by George Plimpton

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Q: What’s on the easel today?

Work in progress

Work in progress

A:  I am at work on a small (20″ x 26″) pastel-on-sandpaper painting tentatively called, “Duo.”  My previous painting, “Charade,” was a breakthrough of sorts; at least I hope so, because it was such an ordeal to complete!  

That’s why I am giving myself a break and making a relatively simple piece now.  It’s a way of resting and also of re-filling the well. 

Recently something happened that broke my heart:  I had to put my beloved cat to sleep.  When I look at this image I am reminded of Kit Kat, who was always by my side.  He and I were another “Duo” alluded to in the title of this painting.

Comments are welcome!    

Pearls from artists* # 176

Working on "Charade," Photo:  Marianne Barcellona

Working on “Charade,” Photo: Marianne Barcellona

* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.

I don’t demand a translation of the unknown. I don’t need to understand what it all means, or where ideas are originally conceived, or why creativity plays out as unpredictably as it does.  I don’t need to know why we are sometimes able to converse freely with inspiration, when at other times we labor hard in solitude and come up with nothing.  I don’t need to know why an idea visited you today and not me.  Or why it visited us both.  Or why it abandoned us both.

None of us can know such things, for these are among the great enigmas.

All I know for certain is that this is how I want to spend my life – collaborating to the best of my ability with forces of inspiration that I can neither see, nor prove, nor command, nor understand.

It’s a strange line of work, admittedly.

I cannot think of a better way to pass my days.

Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic:  Creative Living Beyond Fear

Comments are welcome!

    

Q: What’s on the easel today?

Work in progress

Work in progress

A:  I am still working on “Charade.”  This pastel painting has given me so many problems!  In particular, I have not resolved the figure in the middle.  l am not happy with the mouth and the entire figure needs more detail.

Comments are welcome!

Q: What’s on the easel today?

Work in progress

Work in progress

A:  This one has been a problem child.   Here is a large pastel painting called, “Charade, ” that still needs a lot of work.

Comments are welcome!

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