While I aim to write something here once a month, the calendar commitment has never been the reason I write. Having something to say is. Ideally I want a wry and esoteric “situation” to pick apart from many angles and then sew back up, satisfied. And then, by giving my best phrases to my thoughts, to offer enough value to that exploration that it’s worthy of sharing. And that’s exactly why I’m stepping away from my Studio Journal for an unknown period. Do read on…
I still have plenty of words in me about fascinating “situations” and such, but I sense a metaphorical end of a decade-long Act I and an enjoyable Intermission in the works – one in which the play continues on behind the scenes – and I’m going with it. It’s good timing, too, for all the right reasons.
In 2008, when I hesitantly and rather badly began writing about my art experiences, the art gurus were chorusing the praises of regular blogging with the not-so-hidden agenda of gaining scads of online followers, which, they said, would then magically turn into scads of collectors and other opportunities. Monetizing, Analytics and Conversions, Baby! I rejected that as a motivation, held my nose and posted anyway, more because I kinda liked to write and having an audience made me want to write better. I soon found other gurus who described artists writing for the writing itself and I came home to a rationale that felt genuine and unencumbered by a need for further results.
Even so, I found it awkward to natter on about myself, especially when my “voice” wavered all over the place. I have hidden the worst posts here from public view, but rest assured they were plain awful. They say if your early works don’t make you cringe just a little, you haven’t improved, so I’ll go with that. And I also identify with the Ira Glass quote about The Taste Gap which is only closed by making lots of work. I wrote studio observations and how-to posts. I described my ceramic idols, my influences, my fears, my successes, my colleagues and mentors, my classes, my shows, my pivots. And, woven through it all, was my tango with the Muses and the Creative Process, always a juicy go-to fount.
I’ve talked about Brass Tacks and also about Big Ideas. About money and dreams, aesthetics and ritual, the sad and the ridiculous. And just when I think I’ve delved into all the places chewy advice might be found, up turns this quirky list of Richard Diebenkorn’s which can apply to all of us creatives.
“Notes to Myself on Beginning a Painting”
1. Attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion.
2. The pretty, initial position which falls short of completeness is not to be valued – except as a stimulus for further moves.
3. Do search. But in order to find other than what is searched for.
4. Use and respond to the initial fresh qualities but consider them absolutely expendable.
5. Don’t “discover” a subject – of any kind.
6. Somehow don’t be bored – but if you must, use it in action. Use its destructive potential.
7. Mistakes can’t be erased but they move you from your present position.
8. Keep thinking about Polyanna (sic)
9. Tolerate chaos.
10. Be careful only in a perverse way.
It is in the audacious spirit of this list that I pirouette myself into the wings to wait for my cue for Act II. I cheerfully thank each and every one of you who have ever opened and read one of my posts: you’re a rare cohort – MY cohort and I love you dearly. If you choose to stick around through Intermission, even better! And please remember that you can always find me directly here on the website through my Connect or Shop pages. Don’t be shy!
Until then, here’s one more list.
Things I am Happily Curious About Which May Appear in Act II
- What happens when I leave all my galleries? When I don’t do in-person shows? When I don’t enter competitions?
- What happens when I become more active in supporting The Arts in my community: helping artists and arts organizations?
- What happens when I create giving/donating/fundraising channels – along with the selling channels – for my artworks and others?
- What happens when I explore weaving my artfulness into all I do and am, day by day, moment by moment?
- What happens when I drop the obsessions?
- What happens when this agenda melts?
~Liz Crain, who thinks she might have hit some crystalline high notes with her writing over the years, and here, in no particular preferential order, are eleven favorites from the 245 extant posts. If you poke around, just know that a lot of the older external links will probably not work as intended, but the main discussions are just as ducky as ever.
If you have a favorite post from the past 11 years that isn’t listed here, feel free to add the title/subject of it in the comments – and a link if you can. Thank you.