Anatomy of an Artist (you do not have to log in to read this page)

One of the sources on my Anatomy of an Artist page is the book, “Art & Fear.” This is an amazing book with incredible insights as to what the emotional, intellectual, psychological and even spiritual process of in their words, “making art.” It’s a short read and jammed packed with eye openers that will keep you wanting more, but leaves it in your hands as the artist to make that happen.

May 6, 2016

These are quotes and thoughts about being an artist.

… art is an inside job. Lone wolves eschew social distraction, the safety of institutions and domestic busyness in favor of ripening ideas independently. Unsung aloneness is where your process is permitted to take root and grow, unfettered by outside influences. Let your skill, style and work develop over time in the company of your cold, hard grit.

Sara Genn, Painter’s Keys

P.5 … art making can be a rather lonely, thankless affair. … the disinterest of others hardly ever reflects a gulf in vision. In fact there’s generally no good reason why others should care about most of any artist’s work.

“Art & Fear” by David Bayles and Ted Orland, The Image Continuum, Copyright © 1993

Too long has the artist been thought of as an “ivory tower” outcast. His purpose and value is for all and he should be embraced as an integral part of mankind. We find today that the sciences, though complex and hard to comprehend, have a clearly defined purpose and can immediately be put to exacting tests, however the visual and performing arts being immeasurable, if not regarded as a mere vestige of life, are simply put aside for sensory enjoyment. The deeper and more unique an artist’s work becomes, the less comprehensible to the masses it is and is therefore, looked upon as eccentric, disturbed or unbalanced.

The Way Back Inside to Art by Steve Lawrence Written for college English class at Carnegie Mellon University most likely in 1971 (With apologies for the usage of the word “man” and repeated reference of gender as “he”, “Mankind” etc. rather than human beings)

May 7, 2016

P.2 Making art now means working in the face of uncertainty….

P.4 …flaws and weaknesses, while often obstacles… are a source of strength as well. Something about making art has to do with overcoming things, giving us a clear opportunity for doing things in ways we have always known we should do them.

“Art & Fear” by David Bayles and Ted Orland, The Image Continuum, Copyright © 1993

May 8, 2016

P.10… art is all about starting again.

P.13 Making art is dangerous and revealing. Making art precipitates self-doubt, stirring deep waters that lay between what you know you should be, and what you fear you might be.

P.14 … those who challenge their fears, continue; those who don’t, quit. Each step … puts that issue to the test.

P.15 … vision is always ahead of execution.

“Art & Fear” by David Bayles and Ted Orland, The Image Continuum, Copyright © 1993

May 14, 2016

P.16 … the first few brushstrokes … satisfy the requirements for many possible paintings, while the last few fit only that [particular] painting…. The development of an imagined piece into an actual piece is a progression of decreasing possibilities, as each step in execution reduces future options by converting one – and only one – possibility…. Finally, at some point … the piece could not be other than it is, and it is done.

P .18 What counts in making art, is the actual fit between the contents of your head and the qualities of your materials. …The knowledge you need to make that fit comes from noticing what really happens as you work….

“Art & Fear” by David Bayles and Ted Orland, The Image Continuum, Copyright © 1993

There are many ways to take note of what is happening while painting. For me it’s more of a process that springs from improvisation and intuition. – Steve

May 24, 2016

Artists need to have their wits about them and be aware that insights can arise from little errors as well as big bloopers. Insights, original or not, tend to pop up unbidden. Pause. When the faintest glimmer of an insight appears, the wise artist explores in that direction. To evolve, artists need to exploit their glimmers.

The late Robert Genn

A unique angle