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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Beware the Overthink


Someone in art school once said something like this: You don't really know what you're going to do till you start engaging with the materials. That seemed true, and I was glad to hear it because it bore out my experience.

Still, it didn't keep me from my bad habit of trying to think through everything ahead of time with the hope of avoiding the pain of making mistakes during the artmaking process. I think and think and think, then I get a little cramped up and fearful and dread-filled. It's not exactly writer's block. More like approach avoidance. If I just keep thinking, I think, I'll figure it all out and make a perfect piece of art.

Well. There is a time for thinking. And then there is a time for shutting off the intellectual side of the brain and just writing or drawing or whatever it is we need to be doing. And then we start doing cool things, and getting frustrated, and making mistakes, and the mistakes nudge us maybe onto a different path, and from that path we arrive some place we could not have thought of in our pre-thinking mode.

Dyed-in-the-wool artists know this. Those of us who come from a more trying place must be reminded.

2 comments:

Valorie Grace Hallinan said...

I'm finding so many parallels to writing in your posts about the artistic process.

buffalo said...

our old man wore wingtips (florsheim, natch) almost every day of his working life, so that's where your drawing took me in a flash. nice work!er