Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking (Book Highlights)

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Basically, those who continue to make art are those who have learned how to continue – or more precisely, have learned how to not quit.


What separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears, continue; those who don’t, quit.


All that you do will inevitably be flavored with uncertainty – uncertainty about what you have to say, about whether the materials are right, about whether the piece should be long or short, indeed about whether you’ll ever be satisfied with anything you make.


The truth is that the piece of art which seems so profoundly right in its finished state may earlier have been only inches or seconds away from total collapse.


Artists get better by sharpening their skills or by acquiring new ones; they get better by learning to work, and by learning from their work.


So when you ask, “Then why doesn’t it come easily for me?” , the answer is probably, “Because making art is hard!”


…to require perfection is to invite paralysis.


You cling ever more tightly to what you already know you can do – away from risk and exploration, and possibly further from the work of your heart. You find reasons to procrastinate, since to not work is to not make mistakes.


…the seed for your next art work lies embedded in the imperfections of your current piece.


Audence comes later.  The only pure communication is between you and your work.


When you are lazy, your art is lazy; when you hold back, it holds back; when you hesitate, it stands there staring, hands in its pockets.  But when you commit, it comes on like blazes.

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