Yesterday I went on a road trip with a friend to Lexington to deliver some work to our gallery. We talked about things that are particular to those who wrestle with canvas or paper. Regarding the various obstacles that can show up when painting, he said: "Paint to win, don't paint in order not to lose." I had to think about that– my first impression was that "painting to win" was somehow tied to pleasing the crowd, which is always a loss to the soul. As our conversation continued, I realized that he meant something more like: be bold, paint like you mean it. This is the opposite of being timid or careful, or trying to do what is best for the market.
I remind myself that this is why I advise my students to have one canvas set aside that is "dedicated to ruin". If my job is to try and ruin the painting, I become fearless, and more likely to do something that is fresh.
There is a line from a Rumi poem called Prayer Is An Egg:
Don't do daily prayers like a bird pecking, moving it's head up and down. Prayer is an egg.
From this perspective, being a maker, one who creates, is being willing to be cracked open. Sign up whole heartedly for the adventure you are on, for entering fully into the whole disaster.