October 6, 2007 at 8:59 AMI finished the last of my pieces for the art show, only six days after George and I hung the rest of the show on the walls of the coffee shop. I'm looking at it now, the image of yellow devil's club in the sunlight, and I... Hmm, I'm not happy with it. I think it could have been more, although what I created says something in and of itself. Someone out there is bound to like it, but to me, it is a proclamation of why I'm not really an artist.
The implications of failure are heavy. I apply them across the board to see how I fall short of the white line that measures the achievement of my goals. In this shortcoming with the drawing, I see how I also fall equally short of my goals as a violinist.
Trying and failing, is it really all it's cracked up to be? I think it may have been less risky (and less tasking) to watch movies in the evening, to read a good book, or to settle into conversations with friends over coffee. Instead, I spent two weeks shuttling all my spare time over to the artwork, gambling on an unknown, hoping that this creation would finally embody the genius in my head, the true portrait of my heart.
It falls short. Most times it does, by different measurements each time. This disappointment should be familiar to me by now, but every time, I still feel uncomfortable and wish it would just go away.
Instead, the dissonance of my failure fuels the next attempt.
"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.
If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.
You do not have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you.
Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."
Reading a book, is creating--with the author. Being with friends is creating, community. I won't comment on television.
Your art is beautiful--it is not where if may fall short in your eyes, but your willingness to renew yourself, to keep creating.
Emily, you are probably your own toughest critic. Keep in mind that the glass is half full.
Last night at the coffee shop (where my art is hanging) while I was killing some time before my performance, a woman there kept telling her friend how much she liked that particular drawing. I introduced myself and told her how much I appreciated hearing her say that. I really do.
Just keep working at it.
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