Art is like beginning a sentence before you know its ending

There is something about setting a goal, giving yourself a challenge – and then telling everyone around about it. It obligates – sometimes in a good way.

My declared & announced goal for the past two weeks, has been to produce a series of ten small still life paintings.

«So Long, See You Tomorrow»,
(20 x 20 cm. Mixed media on wood), Sigrun Hodne

For artists and writers who are working on their own, without the company of colleagues or under the leadership of a supervisor, I believe this obligation can be of great importance. I find setting myself goals with limited time frames are extremely useful in my otherwise very free work situation. Setting a goal helps me focus – a goal also leaves less room in my head for ruminations and self-doubt. (I have no time for thoughts like: “why am I doing this” or “is it any good “or “shouldn’t I rather try to save the world” or ___ (fill in the blank)). I have to work; I have to achieve my goal. Art is a praxis of doing.

««The Tipping Point»»,
(20 x 20 cm. Mixed media on wood), Sigrun Hodne

This is what David Bayles & Ted Orland has to say about it:

You make good work by (among other things) making lots of work that isn't very good, and gradually weeding out the parts that aren't good, the parts that aren't yours. It's called feedback, and it's the most direct route to learning about your own vision. It's also called doing your work. After all, someone has to do your work, and you're the closest person around.
«Down to the Valley Below»
(20 x 20 cm. Mixed media on wood), Sigrun Hodne

It is also important to remember that all the goals one set oneself, as an artist, are preliminary goals. Because the final GOAL, for the artist herself, can never be anything but the process of making. For an artist art is a verb, not a noun.  

The seed of your next artwork lies embedded in the imperfections of your current piece. Such imperfections are your guides - valuable, objective, non-judgmental guides to matters you need to reconsider or develop further.

Quotes from Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils and Rewards of Artmaking Written by David Bayles and Ted Orland

5 Comments Add yours

  1. bluebrightly says:

    A verb, not a noun, and one that responds well to just the right balance of limits and freedom. These are terrific! Each one is strong and lively. Your color sense and composition work so well, and I like what the really dark areas do in these paintings, too. They have lots of life in them.

    1. Sigrun says:

      Thank you – and: YES, the sweet pinkness need something dark and unpredictable to play up against 👍

  2. JosieHolford says:

    (Looks like a cat lurking in that teacup!)
    And how do you know what you think till you’ve heard yourself speak?

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