Today’s post is from the me with my head under the hood. Here are a few thoughts about what happens in the making and the molding. Sometimes that part of the process takes precedence, when it is helpful to step back a bit to see if you can see a larger arc, a better sense of where you’ve been and where you seem to be heading. These three quotes speak to much of what I’ve been mulling over lately.
This list was found in the papers of Richard Diebenkorn after his death in 1993. (Spelling and capitalization are left untouched.)
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. Dont “discover” a subject — of any kind.
6. Somehow don’t be bored — but if you must, use it in action. Use its destructive potential.
6. Mistakes can’t be erased but they move you from your present position.
7. Keep thinking about Polyanna.
8. Tolerate chaos.
9. Be careful only in a perverse way.
The great question now is how to preserve and even honor the age-old stability of painting without falling into the trap of a frozen academicism. Richard Diebenkorn, in his figure and landscape paintings of the late 1950s and early 1960s, suggests a provocative balance, one worth reinvestigating. The bottom line is that each artist must now begin pretty much from scratch, obliged to develop both a personal conservatism and a personal radicalism. This is the painter’s predicament.
What matters is the shape-making impulse, the emergence and convergence of an excitement into a wholeness.
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