As I’ve mentioned before, I recently moved away from the big city and out to the rolling hills of the countryside…sort of. So I’m still getting organized here, rummaging through one box or the next, trying to find things I had packed up or stowed away. I made a decision last week to organize my artwork better. In an effort to have a better way to reference work I’ve done in the past I create a few binders with photos of each painting, and organized them by year.
This process of going through some of my old pieces reminded me just how much of a beginner I am. It wasn’t that long ago where I still struggled with a definition for my style, and felt a bit aimless. This past year, things have finally started clicking with my artwork. I see my own style emerging, and a connection to my paintings that was just not there before.
A few weeks ago, Amy over on pikaland posted this video… It really got me thinking about how we all need to go through these beginnings.
Here is a text version of that quote, because reading it makes it even more powerful.
From Ira Glass . . .
“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
For some people, it seems that it’s only a matter of a few months for them to find their style, their groove, to close the gap and take off soaring to new heights. I’ve always felt as if I’ve been stumbling along my own path and never making too much progress, frustrated with my pace, my end results.
Recently that has begun to change for the better. It may have taken me years to get to this point, but would I have done it any other way? Hell no! I’ve learned so much, tried so many different techniques, and had a lion’s share of painting failures along the way. I have no idea where my art will ultimately take me; I’m doing my best to find my own way in this complicated and big world. Today, though, for the first time in a long time I feel as if I’m making progress in closing that gap, and feel as if the paintings I envision are finally making their way out onto the canvas.