A: I see continuity in subject matter and in medium, surely. For thirty-three years I have been inspired by foreign travel and research. In addition, I remain devoted to pushing the limits of what soft pastel can do and to promoting its merits as a fine art medium.
Here and there I see details I would render differently now; not exactly mistakes, but things that maybe could be done better. Fortunately, I think, all of my work is framed behind glass or plexiglas, making it extremely difficult to attempt revisions.
Perhaps most important of all, I see the long personal road that has advanced my work to its present state. Each gain has been hard-fought.
Comments are welcome!
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Serendipitously, I read two memoirs in close proximity, Julia Child’s account of her life in France and how she learned to be a first-rate cook, and Renee Fleming’s story of becoming a world-class opera diva. While there were many differences between the women and the skills they set out to master, I was struck in both books by how extraordinarily hard each one worked in private for years and years before going public, certainly before becoming famous, and how each managed shame. Both women loved what they did and thus brought to bear a similar, and I suspect key, willingness to stay with their efforts through eons of study, practice, and improvement. Both had the ability to hear criticism and to make corrections repeatedly without becoming terminally discouraged; to bear the anxiety of their efforts; neither was too proud to learn and keep learning. This willingness to be taught and corrected, without feeling ashamed, sometimes over and over again, is a huge asset when you are seeking to do something very well. And one way shame impedes people is by making them take criticism too personally – as about them rather than about what they’re trying to learn.
Janna Malamud Smith in An Absorbing Errand: How Artists and Craftsmen Make Their Way to Mastery
Comments are welcome!