more fierceness

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Black and white vase No.1 - 9 x 12 - collage, ink & acrylic on birch painting panel - Susan Black  

What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.

Ira Glass - watch his video here

A slightly new direction for me. Hugely inspired by Lulie Wallace and her gorgeous flower studies. I've decided to follow her lead and to limit myself to creating new original work on affordable 9x12 birch painting panels, my subject matter will always be flowers in vases. Natch. I want to experiment with more paint, less collage, more looseness, less fussy detail. I've become reliant, on what seem to me not, to be tricky techniques. I want my work to be more spare. This actual finished piece there is no doubt in my mind that I went too far, got too carried away as is my normal tendency that explosion of colour and fiddly drawing busyness ... oh well. All that said ... there is much about this first new piece that I'm happy about - it's a feeling in my gut that I'm on to something here ... I'm liking the direction I'm headed.

I love this wooden surface and the more expensive gallery style version has lovely deep sides (which Lulie paints white). I love the idea of limiting my subject matter to flowers in vases. I love that I can design the vases and I love that the flowers can be abstracted versions of actual species (?) of flowers or they too can be completely of my own design & imagination.

I want to learn to know when to stop, or at least slow down. To better understand when enough is enough, as is evident I think strongly in the version below scanned at the half way point. There are many things about this version that make my heart sing. I love the pencil lines, the loose brush strokes, the quirkiness and most of all the empty spare spaces. I feel really excited about this new work, in fact I can barely contain myself today from beginning another but I have that Sunday list of chores (boo!) that someone's gotta do - only the mildest form of housecleaning, a little gardening, a little cooking, a little sweeping up of volumes of hair ;-)

And tomorrow I start Lilla Rogers - Make Art That Sells e-course with my friend Anna. Cannot wait !!
Happy sunday and stay tuned for many, many more flower studies on birch painting panels - oh boy !

+ let's listen to Ira one more time on how ya get good at what you like to do ... by doing lots of it

scanned at the midway point and (bottom) the little thumbnail sketch from my journal - Susan Black


  1. This always makes me feel better:

    "To develop working ideas efficiently, I try to fail as fast as I can." Richard P Feynman.

  2. hey veg artist ... it's so true and I'm realizing not being afraid to try (and possibly fail) is the essential lesson for any creative person ... for any person actually

    xos + gang


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