Starting an art practice & making bad art
This month I officially started my 2022 goal of making art for at least 15 minutes every day.
As I sit down to practice, I sometimes draw or paint things that don’t turn out how I’d hoped. Ira Glass would call this “the gap”—the uncomfortable space between our taste and our current technical abilities.
I don’t like this gap. I desperately want to fast forward. Get me to the part where I make art that looks and feels good! The part where I’ve found my artistic style!
But of course, this is not how it works. In fact, some would argue that “finding” your artistic voice is not even the right framing. This tweet by Visa sums up a different sort of conceptualization:
i'm sympathetic to the idea that artists don't really "find" their voice – your voice is your voice, you've had it since you were born, you can't help but speak/write/create in your voice. all you gotta do is be prolific, and your voice becomes stronger from sheer practice— visa has shipped @introspectVV. It is done!! (@visakanv) January 10, 2022
Not having to “find” my artistic voice gives me some comfort. It feels less like an Indiana Jones mission and more like a homecoming.
I’ve been thinking of it as a spiral path. We circle back to the same core ideas, seeing and understanding new things each time. The path isn’t linear. There’s no uphill climb at the beginning and after that it’s smooth sailing. Once I’m making art that feels good and lives up to my vision, there will be new challenges. I’m sure I’ll want to push myself in different directions, loosen up, and experiment with different mediums.
As Julia Cameron, puts it in The Artist’s Way, “There is no such thing as being done with an artistic life. Frustrations and rewards exist at all levels on the path. Our aim here is to find the trail, establish our footing, and begin the climb.”
I’m glad I’ve started the climb, and despite how uncomfortable it feels to make bad art, I know the “in-between” spaces are where the magic happens. Starting something new, moving, changing our mind, redefining our relationships—all feel uncomfortable in the moment, but once graced with perspective, we realize the discomfort was actually transformation 🦋
If you also find yourself in an uncomfortable “in-between” season, my only practical advice is to take very small steps every day toward your new life. Some days I really can’t muster anything more than cleaning my paintbrushes or taping down a drawing. But I’m convinced that the size of the action doesn’t matter. What matters is that we keep moving, little by little. You’ll get there.
I published a studio vlog! For now, these newsletters will coincide with the monthly release of a video like this one. Studio vlogs are where I’m sharing the ins and outs of my artistic journey.
Things I’ve been enjoying
This remix which is my official jam for 2022. I had no idea Lindsay Lohan released a song in 2020?
A short film about an endangered stork and one woman who’s inspiring an entire community to make a difference.
This photo inside a random apartment complex that had me smiling. Not because sing along was canceled, but because I now know about sing along.
Free dreamy gradients to use on your next creative project
A wildly intricate catfishing story in podcast form
Claire Saffitz soft and crispy focaccia. Maybe the best thing I’ve ever baked?
I topped the focaccia with this crushed chili oil. It’s from World Market and it’s amazing on everything. Sandwiches. Eggs. Potatoes.