hey! How’s it going? The end of the year is near & many people are thinking about resolutions to up their game in a few weeks when the clock strikes midnight on Dec 31.
Amen, Louise. Don’t be reined in by other people’s definitions of skill or beauty or be boxed in by what is supposedly high or low. Don’t stay in your own lane. Drawing within the lines is for babies; making things add up and be right is for accountants. Proficiency and dexterity are only as good as what you do with them. But also remember that just because it’s your story, that doesn’t mean you’re entitled to an audience. You have to earn that. Don’t try to do it with a big single project. Take baby steps. And be happy with baby steps.
Lesson 7: Develop Forms of Practice
For instance, on the subway, while waiting or sitting around, practice drawing your own hands. Lots of hands on the same page, hands over other hands. Other people’s hands, if you want to. You can draw other parts of your body that you can see, too. But you have to look and then describe with your pencil or pen what you see. Don’t make it up! Mirrors are fine, even if you want to draw only where your cheek turns into your mouth. Play with different scales, make things bigger, smaller, twisted.
Exercise: Forget Being a Genius and Develop Some Skills
I think all artists should:
- Build a clay pot.
- Sew pieces of fabric together.
- Prune a tree.
- Make a wooden bowl on a lathe, by carving.
- Make a lithograph, etching, or woodblock print.
- Make one hokey Dalí-like painting or mini Kusama light installation to get this out of your system.
You are now in possession of ancient secret knowledge.
Lesson 21: Define Success
But be careful. Typical answers are money, happiness, freedom, “doing what I want,” having a community of artists, having people see what I do.
But … if you marry a rich person and have lots of money, would you be satisfied with just the money? Also, Subway sells a lot of sandwiches, but that doesn’t make them good.
What about being “happy”? Don’t be silly! A lot of successful people are unhappy. And a lot of happy people aren’t successful. I’m “successful,” and I’m confused, terrified, insecure, and foul all the time. Success and happiness live on different sides of the tracks.
Do you want the real definition of success? The best definition of success is time […]
Lesson 33: Be Delusional
At three a.m., demons speak to all of us. I am old, and they still speak to me every night. And every day.
They tell you you’re not good enough, didn’t go to the right schools, are stupid, don’t know how to draw, don’t have enough money, aren’t original; that what you do doesn’t matter, and who cares, and you don’t even know art history, and can’t schmooze, and have a bad neck. They tell you that you’re faking it, that other people see through you, that you’re lazy, that you don’t know what you’re doing, and that you’re just doing this to get attention or money.
I have one solution to turn away these demons: After beating yourself up for half an hour or so, stop and say out loud, “Yeah, but I’m a fucking genius.” […]
Get to work!
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