Saturday, September 13, 2008

Another Poppy Painting, and why being an artist is like being a factory

Hillside Poppies, 30x20, acrylic

Jan Blencowe

I subscribe to Robert Genn's Twice Weekly Newsletter for artists, The Painter's Keys, it arrives in my inbox always brimming with information, inspiration and food for thought. The topic this week has been particularly interesting to me. Tuesdays was titled, Build the Factory, here's a snippet to whet your appetite:

..... I've been giving my two bits worth to several would-be painters. These folks are young, well educated and talented. They want to talk about the business of making art, the possibility of going to art school, their future in art. They also check my modest brain for what I might think galleries want, price points, popular sizes, that sort of thing.While this is all very nice, I've glazed over a few times, and frankly told one of them to paint a hundred paintings and give me a call when she does. There was a significant silence on the other end of the phone--as if it was just around the corner that I might coach creativity into her. "Think of yourself as a factory," I said. That was the end of that call.

Lots of artists wait around for the muse, won't paint unless they have a lightening bolt of inspiration, or let mountains of other activities crowd out their painting time or just plain old procrastinate. But, Genn thinks we should view our studios and ourselves as factories. It's not a very glamourous image, but it's spot on. Go to the Painter's Keys and read the whole thing and don't forget to read the comments from other artists.
This idea of "factory" continues in today's newsletter, with these thought provoking "rules". #7 and #8 are my favorites.

John Cage's "Rules for Students and Teachers.":

1 Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for awhile.

2 General duties of a student--pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.

3 General duties of a teacher--pull everything out of your students.

4 Consider everything an experiment.

5 Be self-disciplined--this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.

6 Nothing is a mistake. There's no win and no fail, there's only make.

7 The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It's the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.

8 Don't try to create and analyze at the same time. They're different processes.

9 Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It's lighter than you think.

10 Break rules. Even your own rules. Leave plenty of room for X quantities.


The Epiphany Artist said...

I like these Rules Very interesting Thank you!

Jan Blencowe said...

Yes, I found these "rules" quite thought provoking and interesting too! jan