"Control, apparently, is not the answer. People who need certainty in their lives are less likely to make art that is risky, subversive, complicated, iffy, suggestive or spontaneous. What's really needed is nothing more than a broad sense of what you are looking for, some strategy for how to find it, and an overriding willingness to embrace mistakes and surprises along the way. Simply put, making art is chancy -- it doesn't mix well with predictability. Uncertainty is the essential, inevitable and all-pervasive companion to your desire to make art. And tolerance for uncertainty is the prerequisite for succeeding."More often than not, those of us who seek certainty are also perfectionists (as a side note, studies show that women are more likely to define competence as perfection, which leads them to set standards that are unnecessarily high). And those same people tend to thrive in situations (school, jobs, professions) where predictability and perfection are expected and rewarded, so that our behavior and thinking are continually reinforced.
David Bayles and Ted Orland, Art & Fear
I wrote earlier this year that making book structures struck me as an essentially left-brained activity, and that it's what we do with the book beyond the structure itself that involves our right brain (other thoughts?). So over the past year I've been actively seeking out (right-brained) techniques that I know little or nothing about and that complement my bookmaking. Bit by bit, for example, I've been learning about working with paint. I've consciously looked for classes that let me throw paint around, so to speak, since the point is to free up some of that fear of spontaneity.
Not surprisingly, being encouraged to "throw paint around" has been immensely satisfying. And although I can't (yet) call these types of activities transformational, I'd like to think that they're helpful steps on the road to new forms of creative expression. I remind myself that it's ok if I can't see the road clearly or know what's at the end of it, as long as I'm learning and enjoying myself.
(Image: Leonardo Da Vinci's sketch for what we now call a parachute.)