That the act of painting, the doing thereof, the brush into paint and onto paper, needs to be rewarding in itself, disconnected from the need for a satisfying end result,hard as this is, is something I struggle to explain. This quote filled that gap for me as I instantly related to how I interact with waves on a beach compared to pebbles (shells, sea glass).
I might take photos of waves, but they’re eternally ephemeral. I don’t have thoughts other than to watch and enjoy (okay, and to stay out of reach of them). Pebbles I can pick up and hold, turn over in my hand, feel the weight and texture, walk with for a while until I encounter another that I want to touch.
We experience painting every time, but don’t collect a painting every time.
“Brainstorm when tired. Ron Friedman, author of ‘The Best Place to Work’, explains our fatigued brains are less capable of filtering out all the weird stuff, like we are during the day. He suggests finding that time when you’re tired and less focused to box off that time for creative brainstorming.” Ed Terpening, Creativity in Art is Risky Business
Tired is when I’m least likely to ‘plan’ and ‘think hard’ because it feels like it’s going to take energy I don’t have, take too much effort. But it would mean that my thought filters are tired too and so perversely it’ll take less effort to get to outlying thoughts, if I can get myself over the hump of starting.
“Accept that some paintings will be rehearsals for new brush techniques, palettes, or subject matter that build your skills and experience
“… there are three qualities you need to develop as a painter: patience, persistence, and passion.
“Since painting is a complex process, you need to be patient with yourself as you learn to master the craft. Your persistence is important, in order to move past your failures and frustrations. And finally, it is your passion…that propels you forward.” Suzanne Brooker, “The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting”, page 195
“I paint from remembered landscapes that I carry with me—and remembered feelings of them, which of course become transformed. I could certainly never mirror nature. I would like more to paint what it leaves me with.”
Joan Mitchell, letter written in 1958 (in John I.H. Baur, Nature in Abstraction: The Relation of Abstract Painting and Sculpture to Nature in Twentieth-Century American Art, via David Zimmer)
Remembered from a single occasion. Remembered from multiple occasions. Remembered from visits years apart and remembered from frequent visits. Remembered by telling someone else. Remembered through listening to someone else’s remembering.
The layers of memory as layers in a painting. Each memory in a different medium? A different type of mark?
“Art is the kind of marathon where you cross the finish line and instead of getting a medal placed around your neck, the volunteers roughly grab you by the shoulders and walk you to the starting line of another marathon.” — Ryan Holiday, “Perennial Seller“, page 28
If you might find this quote demotivating and demoralising, remember that ultra-marathons are a thing some people do for fun. Pacing yourself is the key.
” … reading “intensively” [was] the common practice of most readers before the nineteenth century, when books, which were scarce and expensive, were often read aloud and many times over. As reading materials—not just books, but newspapers, magazines, and ephemera—proliferated, more recent centuries saw the rise of reading “extensively”: we read these materials once, often quickly, and move on.”
I have favourite fiction books I have read many times, favourite films/series I have watched many times, and favourite reference books. Wearing my non-fiction editor hat, I read things at least three times, first for the gist, second to line-edit, third to check my edit. Maybe it’s inevitable that I revisit subjects and locations to paint them time and again, looping around and coming back to things with myself being the variable not the constant.
Random fact: “Extense” is an archaic word. “Intense” we still use.
” …you can take the first draft of any poem and improve it 80% by lopping off the first and last stanzas.
“… with the first stanza we are struggling to get the creative juices flowing; by the end of the poem we are so enamored with what we are doing that we don’t want to stop
“… what do we agonize over most when writing a piece? The first sentence, the first paragraph, the first scene. Jump in, don’t worry about it; assume you’ll throw this part out when you revise, anyway.”
“If the subject matter were the most important part of a painting, then you would no longer need to paint.
“… everything under the sun has already been painted. The humble holly tree is not itself important, but how your perceptions are used to interpret those impressions through paint is what matters most.” Suzanne Brooker, “Elements of Landscape Oil Painting”, p10
Worry Focus less about what you’re painting and more on how you’re painting it.