Vonnegut quoteSome Advice from the Master (of failure) about painting badly

This is not directed at anyone in particular, since, I have banned the use of the word” bad” in my classes.  I encourage my students to think in terms of deeper, rather than bad or good.  In other words, if something about your painting is disturbing you, I recommend you isolate it, describe the problem as specifically as possible and identify exactly what needs to change and how you plan to change it.

Here’s a great BLOG by a great painter who understands the process beautifully.

Otherwise, get off your own back.  Nothing can be accomplished when you’re beating yourself up.  And if someone else is beating you up, you must ask them to stop as well.  Unless he/she too, can very specifically break down the problem for you, in terms you can understand.  Actually, it needs to be in terms your poor defenseless right brain can understand.

The first thing I advise, when you feel the critic emerging from his resting place, gagged and locked away in the closet, is to put down the brush and step away from the painting.   Problems often aren’t as big as they seem with a little distance.   And then, if the critic insists on ruining our parade, he too must follow the rules as stated above.

I once presented a seminar called “Using observational drawing as a springboard into creativity,” something like that.   In a room filled with people who had never drawn before in their entire lives, one woman stood up and appointed herself as the critic of the class and proceeded to attack the others.  I asked her to leave.  The creative process is not the time for a critic to be tearing things apart.   It is a critic-free zone.  For everything there is a season.  The critics will always be there.  But, don’t forget we all need a safe place to try new things, to boldly go where no one has gone before.

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