I was digging around in my files of Important Papers recently, looking for a snippet of information that would relieve me of the fear and angst that accompanies the starting of a new painting.
(Okay, that might be a little bit dramatic, but sometimes that blank canvas seems to be staring right back at me, as if it were daring me to lay a mark on it. It's a bit much to deal with early in the day.)
When I take a class, or read a book, I write down quotes that touch my heart or rattle my psyche. I keep them in a File of Important Papers, which is a mound of paper scraps that seem too necessary to toss out, but are unable or unwilling to be organized. Sometimes I scrawl them on notecards and paste them on the wall where I can see them easily. My own little pep rally.
It's like reading Christmas cards from years ago, or paging through an old scrapbook. Lots of good memories are stored in those bits of paper, and a few bruise-y ones as well.
A few of my favorites:
"Argue for your limitations and they are yours." - Richard Bach
"Patience! Set up properly!" - every teacher I've ever had. When will it soak in?
"Tolerance for uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding." - from 'Art & Fear' by David Bayles and Ted Orland
"Know the temperature and quality of light first, before you start painting." Donna Aldridge
"Writing [or painting] is easy: all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead." - Gene Fowler
"It's easier to move from a neutral position than to be too dark/light, intense/dull. Move from there." Amy MacLennan
"Paint like you have all the time in the world." - Dustin VanWechel
"Let the student enter the school with this advice: No matter how good the school is, this education is in his own hands. All education must be self-education." - Robert Henri from 'The Art Spirit'.
"There's no short cut, sorry! I'm not making it easy on you. This is what it takes." - Larry Blovits
"Nice picture, who is it?" Handsome Husband upon seeing a recently painted self-portrait.
"Fear doesn't go away. It diffuses with experience." Christine Kane
"It'll be hard, but you can do it." Dr. Gary Zaruba
"I'm Ready!!" - me
What quote would you add to the File of Important Papers?