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February 20, 2003
Sub-series 62-63

Drawing can be scary. It can sometimes be impossible. I am not trying to sound like a primadonna here, it is just really simply impossible sometimes. Very, very difficult. I now do understand why some artists just do anything to forget the obstacles that keep them from making the next piece. It is scary sometimes to do anything. It has all been done, much better, many times. Why even bother?
It is difficult to find new ways, new solutions, new paths in to the unknown. Making art is not some event that just happens once a year. If one wants to make art, then the practice needs to happen every day, always, awake or not. There needs to be an awareness at all times. The eyes need to be open, no matter if they are the visible eyes or the eyes of the soul. Once this is accomplished, one needs to produce. Every single day should be somehow marked by some sort of work. And then one should really hope that the pieces just created hold up against the older work. Forget the others. They might be better, they might be much better, and they might be dead. Maybe for 100 years, maybe 500, maybe 1000. There does not seem to be such a thing as freshly fallen snow in art. There is no moon. No first steps. Or is each step a first one? Maybe it is. And what we are afraid of sometimes are the barriers that are only visible to us. Very personal obstacles. Every one of us has their own, very personal, tailored fears. Some of us just give up without trying... "I can't do that.." some do not give up and just make some often horrible stuff. Some are afraid and try to somehow find that winding scenic route into the next drawing, picture, photograph, song, poem, ... anything.


i love page 63. that little guy, it just reminds of that overwhelming feeling when you're faced with a blank page. it's funny how scary a blank space can be.

great entry :) given me a lot of think about.

Posted by: shauna on February 21, 2003 01:40 AM

That's so true, and so beautifully written. I discovered your blog through Anna's Absolutely-Vile just yesterday, and today I get rewarded with this.

It's so easy to feel as if you are the only one who feels so frightened by beginnings. Once the fear and difficulty are acknowledged and owned, you can start getting past them. Your post was a good reminder of this. Reminders are always helpful.

Thanks. I think the drawings are wonderful. :-)

Posted by: Kristina on February 21, 2003 10:44 AM

very well said.

when i was younger, i was consumed with producing quality. that attitude stiffled me. i didn't want to draw (or do anything) unless it was a masterpiece.

i am older now and value quantity over quality when it comes to drawing and art. just letting it flow, letting the art drive, letting me be the passanger in some sense. interestingly the quality comes. it comes from the quantity.

that being said, there are days when my hand and pen are enimies, and i have to let that day pass, and hope they will kiss and make up before tomorrow.

Posted by: griff on February 21, 2003 11:22 AM

i had a recital once. and me and my viola just weren't getting along. i was nervous sweaty weary and scared. my dad rubbed my tears away and said 'let it go' and i did. and it all dripped off of me like grease off of a well cooked turkey. your entry made me remember that.
thanks witold riedel. i think you are awesome.

Posted by: nik p on February 21, 2003 11:25 AM

When I first saw the little guy, I thought he was looking out a big window.

Posted by: Isabelle on February 21, 2003 11:45 AM

It could be both, of course... '; )

Thank you Nik.. : )

Griff, I absolutely agree. If only 1% of the work we make is good, then making 100 pieces may very well result in one good piece of art. Making nothing at all, will result in 100% failure. And you are right, te more we make, the better the chances of making somehting good.

Posted by: witold on February 21, 2003 12:09 PM

I mean, our skill set improves over time as well. The person at the beginning of a book is not the same as the person at the end of a book. (read or drawn.) If making anything with passion is a journey, then all these journeys transform us more and more and let us grow more and more.
Just thinking about the things we could do, and never actually doing them, might really lead to a lot of frustration.

Posted by: witold on February 21, 2003 12:13 PM

the "do not be afraid" boy is one of my faaaavorites.

so...one of my mentors at calarts was telling me ways they make decisions on which students to accept, because there are so many applicants to just thin them out a little bit they come up with weird sweeping "rules" that aren't official and no one knows about them except the profesors who have to look through all the new work...

...and one of the rules from about 3 years ago was
"If they incorporate words into their pieces they go into the 'maybe' pile." everyone else went immediatly into the "denied" pile.

Posted by: em!ly on February 21, 2003 02:21 PM

Griff and Witold, I couldn't agree more. My favorite art instructor reminded me to never throw any work away, no mattter how bad I thought it was. Since then I've discovered many ideas and interesting directions from things that I might have tossed in the garbage can.

Also, love drawing number 63. So simple but so impactful.

Posted by: dave on February 25, 2003 01:21 PM
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