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The Art Of Simplicity

I think I have spent years complicating my artistic process. When you focus on what you can’t do I think it tends to color what you can do. I have now spent forty days on my project. When I started I was focused on this idea of using up all of the materials I had filled my studio with over the years. I don’t think I really thought about the commitment to the work, or how it might affect me, and it has. Over the course of the last twenty years I have started far more projects than I’ve finished. Drawings, painting, even silly craft projects, where something didn’t look right, or I would make a mistake, or more likely, I would decide that whatever it was, it wasn’t good enough, and then the project was scrapped. Even now if I were to clean out the studio, and our garages, there would be a lot of half done paintings, pieces of wood, etc.. I had given up on myself and it is reflected in every unfinished project. What has happened to me in the last forty days is a transformation. I kept my promise to myself, and that’s a big accomplishment. I have produced more than fifty pieces of art in that time. Not every piece is something I love, or even like. But what is important, the biggest accomplishment is that in the process of creating those pieces I struggled with several, and didn’t stop.There were a couple that I was ready to quit, but I didn’t, I stuck it out. Some of those turned out to be some of the best work that I have created since I started this. I believe that forcing myself to confront this mental ball and chain I been dragging along has done great things for me.  My thought process is changing. The thoughts of what I can’t do are straying further and further from my mind. That is because I have forty days of “can do” looking me in the face. When you start something and you are already defeated, you have lost before you have begun. I have a quote on a magnet, I think it is Eleanor Roosevelt, but it states, “Do something everyday that scares you”. I bought it a few years ago when I was in another of the endless “new starts” that I promised myself. Sort of like all the diets that start next Monday, and  trust me I am very familiar with that one. The magnet has been sitting on my drawing table, and I have looked at it so often and thought, “It’s time”. I didn’t do it. I was afraid. Of what? Failure, maybe finding out that after all of the years of “what if?” I might discover that even if I had taken those art lessons I felt cheated out of, I still wouldn’t have been the artist I wanted to be. I am doing something every day, but guess what? I’m not afraid anymore. A little uncertain, yes. A little lost, yes. But things are getting better with every day, with every project. It’s simple. One project, one day at a time.

Two motivations behind tonight’s project. The first is that I am still trying to fulfill the object of the project. I bought a couple of mat boards at Blick last year simply because I liked that the size of the opening was different, it is long and rectangular. So when I went upstairs to see what I would do today I came across them and decided that whatever I did tonight needed to fit in that opening. The second motivation is that Dan likes pen and ink drawings. So for tonight a “simple” pen and ink.IMG_9705

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