Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

paint setBy David Bayles and Ted Orland; Image Continuum Santa Cruz, California and Eugene, Oregon; @ 1993; 122 pages.

I read this book a while back and then again a little more recently. As I was organizing my files and papers, I came across my notes:

  • Becoming an artist means learning to accept yourself. This makes your work personal. Following your inner voice makes your work distinctive.
  • The flawless person wouldn’t need to make art.
  • Our flaws and weaknesses are a source of strength for art. In fact, they are critical.
  • “Making art provides uncomfortably accurate feedback about the gap…between what you intended to do, and what you did.”
  • “Artists don’t get down to working until the pain of working is exceeded by the pain of not working.”—Stephen DeStaebler
  • Fear of not being up to the task of making art can feel dangerous and revealing.
  • “Making art precipitates self doubt, stirring deep waters between what you know you should be and what you fear you might be.”
  • Vision is always ahead of execution. Knowledge of materials is your contact with reality. Uncertainty is a virtue.
  • “Art is like beginning a sentence before you know its ending.”
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