Pearls from artists* # 560
*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
In describing her technique, Joan [Mitchell] once said, “I don’t go off and slop and drip. I ‘stop, look, and listen!’ at railroad tracks. I really want to be accurate.” One can imagine every stroke applied, every drizzle of pigment – both those visible in the finished work and those buried beneath its many layers – being the result of just such consideration. The majesty of Joan’s painting, which she would call City Landscape, was a quality it shared with all great art – the sense that it had always existed, and that during one inspired moment it had been dredged from the subconscious depths by a hand and mind graced with the talent and vision to retrieve it for the rest of us. That revealing work, so exuberant, so deep, so masterful, and so unlike the shards and violent explosions that had been her signature, was the result of Joan’s having survived a personal hell and her own imperfections. It was her prize for having persevered, and all who saw it were the beneficiaries.
Mary Gabriel in Ninth Street Women
Comments are welcome!
Pearls from artists* # 65
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
To create demands a certain undergoing: surrender to a subconscious process that can yield surprising results. And yet, despite the intuitive nature of the artistic process, it is of utmost importance to be aware of the reason you create. Be conscious about what you are attempting or tempting. Know why you are doing it. Understand what you expect in return.
The intentions that motivate an act are contained within the action itself. You will never escape this. Even though the “why” of any work can be disguised or hidden, it is always present in its essential DNA. The creation ultimately always betrays the intentions of the artist. James Joyce called this invisible motivation behind a work of art “the secret cause.” This cause secretly informs the process and then becomes integral to the outcome. This secret cause determines the distance that you will journey in the process and finally, the quality of what is wrought in the heat of the making.
Anne Bogart in and then, you act: making art in an unpredictable world