Art is hard

I am stuck, bogged down, blocked; you name it, I’m in it. I can’t seem to complete anything beyond a sketch. It’s not that I don’t have ideas; it’s more that once I begin to implement the intent slips away and degrades. I’ve painted over, destroyed, or hidden more than 90% of my work the last few years. It’s as if I’ve lost my voice and can’t find it. I don’t bring this up for pity or as an attempt to jumpstart my output. It is part of the creative process and that's what I want to talk about.

Creators- artists, musicians, inventors, etc.- don’t just sit back, pull something out of the air, and slap something successful together. We have to work at it. Every spark of insight or intuition has a foundation in experience and hard work. You can’t recognize a good idea unless you have a library full of bad ones to compare it to. It can take years of work, stops and starts, frustration and even abandonment to find your voice and find your work. Since I’m on a de Kooning kick lately, I’ll use him as an example. After the completion of his master painting Excavation (1950) de Kooning worked and reworked, erased and planned, struggled and railed against, abandoned and restarted his next piece, Woman I, for almost three years before he was able to complete it. That’s three years on basically one painting. The Beatles went from an average, some would even say crappy, little garage band from Liverpool to, well, The Beatles by playing thousands upon thousands of hours in Hamburg, Germany and anywhere else that would give them a stage.

My point? Creativity and art are fucking work and it’s not always fun. To throw in a sports metaphor, if you get a hit in baseball one out of every three at bats you can be a Hall of Famer. How much harder is it to create that one seminal piece of work, that one incredible song, that one thing that changes the way people view the world? I don’t know, but I guess I’ll keep picking up my brushes, sharpening my chisels, and sketching until I find out.
Eric in a Word: cachinnation
Book of the Day: Darwin's Worms- Adam Phillips
Song of the Day: They Made Frogs Smoke 'Til They Exploded- Múm
Religious Figure of the Day: Þjazi
Medium: graphite and black tea on qaud-ruled notebook paper

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