There are good spells and bad spells in the creative pattern. Lately it has been more of the latter. Even though I accept the "bad" spells, which are essential to breaking through to new ground, I am impatient. I decided to visit my friend Rodney Hatfield, and see his paintings before they were shipped off to Santa Fe. I was feeling discouraged with how long it sometimes takes to make even one painting I am happy with. Rodney has a stool at one end of his studio, next to which is a pile of scraps of paper– brown paper bags, poster paper, old photo paper etc. There are brushes, gesso and paint on the floor next to his stool. There is a hand written sign on the wall that says: "Shut up and paint", reminding him not to think too much.Read More
B B King died this week. In an earlier interview, Terry Gross asked him (he was in his 70's at the time) about getting nervous before each performance. King replied:
"It's an audition each time...(I remind myself that) I'm never any better than my last concert."
I found this confession comforting, as I have wondered over the years at my persistence in having nervous anticipation before each class I teach. I have come to realize that this is how I prepare; by continuously walking over the line of what I have done before, or what I know. I like to imagine that B. B. King and I are aligned in an uncertainty about the work we are doing– and that this doubt keeps the music, the teaching, the painting, and hopefully, the audience, alive.Read More
Why make art? This is the question that was posed for a group of us who met for lunch this week:
Two poets, a composer, a psychotherapist, a sculptor, a graphic designer, a drawing professor, a painter and a calligrapher. It was such a lively conversation! There were many different strands to our talk, so I will take just one today.
One of the people in our group had decided to quit making, and caused me to ask myself again: Why am I a maker?Read More