I fetishize the artistic process, my own and that of other artists – writers, musicians, dancers, all of them. (Terri Gross’s Fresh Air is frequently so helpful for feeding this fetish.) When it’s the process of other artists, I pay attention to discover what works, what doesn’t. This is true for my own process too, but too much self-consciousness can be problematic, a big barrier to actually getting work done, like watching my feet while learning to ride a bike. I crashed every time until I finally got it.
Working on my first graphic novel, I want to document & share the process because it gets lonely, and I love the historic record, but I’m aware of that tendency to watch my feet, getting caught up in the excitement of realizing I’m actually doing it! I use paint every day! I am an artist, I’m writing a book, look ma, no hands!
Crash. The project gets abandoned. I lose my vision. It just seems dumb. It’s been done before. Why was I thinking I could pull this off?
I look around my newly-reorganized studio and am thrilled to see that the old easel I bought from a neighbor twenty years ago has moved – out of necessity – from the corner of the room to the center, where I’ve always wanted my art to be – at the center of my work day. (It’s also refreshing to displace a computer with watercolors, brushes, pens, and pencils.)
If my own studio enjoyment isn’t enough, or getting too dangerous, I’ll head over to the MCA this week for their current exhibit, “Production Site: The Artist’s Studio Inside-Out.” I’m sure it will be enlightening and humbling. Most important, I’ve got to keep my eyes just ahead of myself and sustain my focus, like when I finally could ride that bike without crashing.