on making bad art

If you have ever read a better book on making art than

Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland

… I would love to know!

Art & Fear is my absolute favorite in the genre of creativity, I read it all the time, and it never fails to tell me something I need to hear.

This morning, after having finished a real bad watercolor last night, I read this:

For you, the seed for your next art work lies embedded in the imperfections of your current piece. Such imperfections (or mistakes, if you’re feeling particularly depressed about them today) are your guides —valuable, reliable, objective, non-judgmental guides —to matters you need to reconsider or develop further. It is precisely this interaction between the ideal and the real that locks your art into the real world, and gives meaning to both.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. lepastelbleu says:

    I do not know the book but I will try to get it. What he says is absolutely true. Every progress in painting and drawing is given by the awareness and overcoming of the mistakes made. The biggest problem for me is in procrastinating to postpone dealing with these things. thank you for making this book known.

  2. dapplegrey says:

    What I really like in this quotation is the last sentence – “It is precisely this interaction between the ideal and the real that locks your art into the real world, and gives meaning to both”. This is what makes his insight so much sharper – the fact that the imperfections are part of the reality of that particular moment. To me that is what drawing is about. Life is not perfect, and if our drawing or painting isn’t perfect that’s because it’s a perfect record of our imperfect life….

  3. The interaction between the ideal and the real…
    This is exactly what I needed to hear today concerning my writing.
    Thanks for sharing this quote. I need to pull this book down off the shelf and reread it.

  4. bluebrightly says:

    I would say that I need to pull this down and reread it too, except I think it’s missing, and I also think I never really read it! When I had this book I was so caught up in my job that there was never any time or energy left, so the idea of reading it saddened me. That’s no longer true, so I will try again.

    1. Sigrun says:

      Never too late!

  5. Oh, Sigrun–I have written so many TERRIBLY BAD poems over the decades! And they do teach me much, when I can get over the initial disappointment. For you–more (lovely, excellent) watercolors to come! 🙂

    1. Sigrun says:

      Thank you Ann 😘
      I guess the challenge is to endure & keep going, and I suppose … to not take oneself too serious 😉

  6. pflanzwas says:

    Thank you so much. So true and I agree with all the comments here 🙂

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