Motivation

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snippety
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Motivation

Post by snippety » Sun Jan 05, 2020 6:23 am

Hey Happy New Year and Decade!! 2020's.

Matthew you would have to be one of the most motivated people ever. You just do so much im always blown away and thank you for sharing.

In the spirit of New Year Id love to know what motivates people to keep up their projects? What tips or practices can members share? Do you always need the goal of an exhibition? I know this might sound silly but sometimes i think im almost afraid or scared of my paper and paint.

love and best for the year ahead.

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Andre Jute
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Re: Motivation

Post by Andre Jute » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:22 am

Happy new year to you too, Snippety, and to everyone else. May all your colours be lightfast forever.

Motivation isn't a big deal for me. I've spent my entire life in the arts from when at 13 I published a couple of volumes of poetry, in the theatre, films, literature, the visual arts, etc. I've published over 60 books with all the leading publishers in the world; I don't count books, I measure the shelf feet of first editions in English. My achievements in other arts are of a lesser magnitude but not small. I'm not bragging, I'm explaining that every time I do something right, every time I learn something, my confidence grows. So, if I sit for months in front of my computer with my feet up, looking at the magpies in the eucalyptus tree outside my study window screeching at my pet fox, I don't panic. I know that eventually the voices in my head will make sense and it will be time to start writing, or some image, perhaps a choice from possible subjects on my screen, perhaps something entirely different, will be in my mind with enough detail to start painting. I know this because I've done it before, again and again. Experienced painters say to me, "How can you be so cool when you've painted nothing for months on end?" They're quite outraged about it, but I'm just a calm sort of person, because I know inspiration hasn't deserted me as it didn't desert me 78,236 times before.

However, beginners should not do as I do, they should do as I say, which is to take the cover off their keyboard every day at work-time, put their hands on the keyboard, and write, over and over, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog," until they settle and start writing something saleable, and painters should paint out their palette again and again, until their mind settles etc -- by now you get it, you're turning a fearsome first mark into a routine with nothing frightening about it. That's how I learned to be so calm. Sooner than you expect, you'll be able to start work every time. Another tip is to sort through your art materials, or your sketchbooks and other surfaces, until they suggest something to you. I have a large very high quality hardbound book on my desk with handmade paper of a nicely textured pale ochre colour, made in India for my father-in-law, who died almost forty years ago, that my wife gave to me when I took up visual art again. It's been sitting here for five years and I've bought complete kits and tester kits of various materials to try on it, but so far I haven't made a mark in it. But one day I will, and then a series of images will trip over each other; I know it. Meanwhile, every time I put my finger on it, my finger slides along to another sketchbook because I have an idea more suited to it. The point is that you can't go do something else: even if you just sit staring at your materials, you have to go into your studio, or take your sketchbook walkabout and looks at things critically from a sketcher's viewpoint, even if you come home without making a mark. It doesn't sound like some grand Motivation but that's exactly what it is, and the purpose isn't just making one image but building the confidence that turns making an image into a routine.

I hope this helps you. It has helped thousands of writers for decades, many of them professionals of long standing, to whom I confided the method, which I learned from another writer, in a book called WRITING A THRILLER.
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Re: Motivation

Post by Rebecca » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:42 pm

I am motivated. There have always been different triggers to start or keep going.

Visible paths to goals can motivate:
  • Externally imposed deadline -- commissions, contract jobs, full time employment, a gallery or museum show
  • Internally imposed deadline -- running a school, speculation projects, seasonal opportunities
  • Contests
  • Emulating another artist's career path
Non-path motivators:
  • That feeling of inspiration
  • Knowing that there is satisfaction in effort
  • Keeping a well equipped dedicated space for art making
  • A craving to be lauded by the world
  • A belief that artists are desirable
  • A belief that art is a high calling that leaves no choice but to pursue it
  • All life choices, from house cleaning to entertainment are tested by whether they could hinder art making
Uh oh, I need to go... I have a job to finish. If I think of more, I'll post again.
Last edited by Rebecca on Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Motivation

Post by Alitogata » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:09 pm

I will agree with Andre. When you don't feel motivated enough just draw, sketch something just for the sake of doing so. And then you'll get to the mood of sketching something else.

For instance. Here is a stupid sketch that I did out of boredome. ( after reading the news online, the weather forecast, :lol: feeding the cat, :lol: :lol: washing the plates, :lol: :lol: :lol: listen to music :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Boring cold afternoon sketch.jpg
Boring cold afternoon sketch.jpg (108.45KiB)Viewed 4299 times
The sketch is somehow different from the photo because I sketched it earlier that there was still some daylight but you can get an idea.

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Rebecca
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Re: Motivation

Post by Rebecca » Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:00 pm

More:
There is this other issue having to do with fear of wasting perfectly good blank paper and art supplies with irreversible actions like making a painting that lacks merit. To avoid wasting supplies and time, I sketch. Sketching works out decisions before I go to canvas. Sketching also gives a lot of expressive satisfaction without expectation of display. I give myself lots of incentive to sketch by using sensual materials that make me anticipate and relish the sheer act of making marks. Practice with sketching makes the leap to painting almost effortless. Sitting on my hands could cripple creative urges.

There is another aspect to the fear of sullying good supplies. It's an extreme feeling. This feeling puts up a barrier to another extreme feeling -- desire to make art. On one hand, there might be a drive for exaltation, and on the other, promise of dismay. It's a potent dichotomy. After years of teaching people who are returning to art after years away from it, I saw the impact discouragement had on their development. Somewhere in their history, someone or something stunted their enthusiasm. Somehow, they were convinced to stop trying. The roadblocks were often small, like a thoughtless word from a grade school teacher, or having a friend who found it easier to draw or paint than they could. Or it could be realizing their passion would never be rewarded with income, or at minimum, swift mastery.

Combined with fear, aspiring artists might confront something unexpected -- Making it doesn't feel like looking at it. I hear people talk about how a painting or drawing takes their breath away, or how wonderful it would be to create something like that. Making art is a series of ascending decisions, starting from the bottom and going up. What's the motive? How does it start? What's the next treatment? How do I get to the finish? Looking at art is merely seeing the settled state. The decisions might be evident in the piece, but appreciation it is not re-experiencing the decisions. Appreciating and making are completely different animals. The maker has to give up the innocence they enjoyed as the appreciator. More often than not, the maker can never appreciate their own art as others might. Some aspiring artists quit because they don't enjoy their paintings, even though their paintings are good. I think it's because they expected their appreciator's eye to be the test of satisfaction. Generally, the appreciator's sensibility will be lost as one becomes the maker.

There is another secret to keeping at it.. If you are not where you want to be in your artistic development, you might need a crutch to keep you on track, such as an encouraging family member, a galaxy sized ego, or to maintain the manic stage of a bi-polar disorder.
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Re: Motivation

Post by Andre Jute » Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:28 am

Rebecca wrote:
"to maintain the manic stage of a bi-polar disorder"

Not all drugs are opioids.
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Re: Motivation

Post by mdmattin » Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:28 am

Hi Snippety,
You always raise such good discussion topics! And thanks for your kind compliment. I'm tempted to remark that my problem is finding the motivation to do all the other supposedly important non-art stuff, but I must admit that I also find myself procrastinating or being seduced by distractions when I really want to be doing artwork. I don't know what imp of the perverse is behind this, but I'm pretty sure I'm not alone. I have gotten better at overcoming these feelings and getting down to work over time, largely by reminding myself that once I start, I will be happily entranced and immersed in the work. Still, there are things that get in the way. There is an element of anxiety, especially if I'm working on a piece in which I've already invested a lot of time, or which is facing a deadline. What if I screw it up? Maybe I'm not really in the zone right now, so I shouldn't touch it. Sometimes that concern is legitimate - you really should get your nervous system tuned up before doing something irrevocable - but of course a great way to do that is to do art - just do it to a piece you aren't so invested in, like Marialena's sketch. Other times it's really just the lazy part of your brain looking for a way out.
The question of internal vs external motivation is also interesting. I've been running on internal motivation all my life, doing art because that's what I'm wired to do, and I start to go nuts if I don't do it. In the last couple of years I've added more external motivators by entering shows and contests, which changes things a bit. I'm more concerned with producing a finished product in a set amount of time than I was before, when I could maintain an art for art's sake attitude and "relish the sheer act of making marks," as Rebecca puts it.
The longer you pursue artwork, the more it filters into your heart and soul, and becomes a way of being in the world. This makes it easier to enter the studio and mark the paper with confidence, but the distractions and mental obstacles will probably always be there to some extent. As Andre notes, the experience of repeatedly going through fallow periods to get to productive ones makes it easier to accept the slow times, but to reach that point you have push yourself do something even if it doesn't seem immediately inspiring.
But it's worth it in the long run, because like the man almost said, "there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about with art supplies!"
Matthew

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Re: Motivation

Post by Andre Jute » Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:40 am

I like your make-work sketch, Marialena. Pity about the fold-damage through the top of the tools in the pot on the cabinet.
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Re: Motivation

Post by Alitogata » Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:15 pm

Andre Jute wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:40 am
I like your make-work sketch, Marialena. Pity about the fold-damage through the top of the tools in the pot on the cabinet.
This is not a damage. It is the thread that keeps the paper in place. The sketch is underneath the thread.. ha ha haaaaaaaaaa

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Re: Motivation

Post by Andre Jute » Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:55 am

I see the clips now.
Last edited by Andre Jute on Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Motivation

Post by Andre Jute » Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:04 am

Back to the question about motivation.

When I took up painting again, to get myself into the mood, for a whole month I made a small painting a day. I kept a minimal kit of materials on my bike (see TECHNICAL NOTE at bottom), and every afternoon when I went out riding, I'd paint something, anything, maybe just a bloom or a leaf or whatever. Though those postcards were good enough for me to use them as tags for gifts or in an envelope of money on birthdays or Christmas or other celebrations, that wasn't the point: the purpose was to make grabbing the paintbrush and making a mark a routine. The point of the minimal amount of kit (below are photographs of how little I included) is to avoid the distraction of choosing among media, for instance.

Another point: some of these paintings were just rubbish, and I tore them up the moment I decided they were rubbish. That's something else I learned in literature, where I think nothing of throwing out a whole novel if I don't think it turned out right. These too are confidence builders. It's important to realise that, especially in watercolours, there are some images that can't be gimmicked right. Note that I don't throw out an image just for the sake of throwing it out: some mistakes are serendipitous, making a better painting than whatever you originally had in mind. Those you should keep.

That whole affair was so agreeable an experience that I still carry the tin of postcards, the water brush and the tiny watercolour box on my bike.

I keep these painted postcards in a small books of 24 postcard-size sleeves that my pharmacist gives away to encourage people to get photographs printed by a machine in his store. By now I have a stack of books with 48 postcards each covering a wide variety of images. One day when I have absolutely no other idea, I will put up a large canvas and paint the subjects of these postcards on it in some arrangement I still have to work out, though I fancy the "memory palace" idea, or perhaps something like those portraits from the 16-17C where in the background every single item carried some symbolism.

TECHNICAL NOTE: I bought a tin of 30 postcards, 220gsm semi-rough paper, and a water brush and some watercolours. The precise postcards are important to me, because they're of better paper than anything else you can buy. The problem is that Hahnemuhle sells a limited edition of only 10,000 tins as a Christmas stocking stuffer only once a year in the autumn, and everyone seems to know about them; order in advance from your art supplies pusher. The tin itself is 6 3/8x4 3/8x1 inches/160x110x25mm, just thick enough, after you take out some of the postcards to protect them from accidents, to make a tiny self-contained pochade box containing everything you need. My Little Postcard Pochade Tin fits in the pockets of outdoor jackets, so there is no excuse for not having it to hand when I see something worth sketching.

Here I'm at work in my Little Postcard Pochade Tin somewhere on an interesting and healthy bicycle ride in the country.

Image

Here you can see the details of the pochade tin holding the painting I'm working on in the lid, a water brush (I carry a flat and a round; the other one must be in my hand), W&N's Bijou watercolour box which I've gimmicked to hold 13 colours in less space than a visiting card, a sheet of kitchen roll to dab the brush or blot paint for effects, a printed postcard turned upside down to protect the spare blank Hahnemuhle postcards, plus (just peeking out on the right of the protective printed postcard) spare blank postcards in case I'm overcome with ambition or merely, as second image of the day, want to paint a field of fresh flowers before the bloody cows, bane of the countryside sketcher, trample them into mud:

Image
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Re: Motivation

Post by Alitogata » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:13 am

Andre Jute wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:55 am
I see the clips now.
There was only one clip to keep the sketchbook open because I was holding my tablet with the other hand. It was one of these cases that I wish to have three hands.

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Re: Motivation

Post by Alitogata » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:20 am

Andre Jute wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:04 am
Another point: some of these paintings were just rubbish, and I tore them up the moment I decided they were rubbish. That's something else I learned in literature, where I think nothing of throwing out a whole novel if I don't think it turned out right. These too are confidence builders. It's important to realise that, especially in watercolours, there are some images that can't be gimmicked right. Note that I don't throw out an image just for the sake of throwing it out: some mistakes are serendipitous, making a better painting than whatever you originally had in mind. Those you should keep.
That is a very valid advice. There are no rubbish paintings let alone sketches.
Sketches are all about catching a moment, putting down on paper an idea, doodle, figure out how to paint something. They don't have to be perfect but some sketches turn out pretty well either way.
But sketchbook ( or sketch paper sheets ) are meant to be incomplete, non perfect and sometimes rubbish. Who says after all that all of our ideas, whatever it comes to our minds is by default perfect?

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Re: Motivation

Post by snippety » Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:39 am

DISCIPLINE have kit ready to go..or one in the car ready to go

yes and not be too precious...i love the shredder.

This is a return pic for Mariana perhaps more drawing than sketch?

i should re title - 'night on the tiles'
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Re: Motivation

Post by Andre Jute » Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:42 am

snippety wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:39 am
...perhaps more drawing than sketch?
A "sketch" is whatever the sketcher says it is, short of a clearly finished work.

You have nice shading in your sketch, so maybe that's going to be important to you, and it takes longer than slapping on some water colours, so that over time influences the subjects you will choose. Once you make a mark in your sketchbook, you're on a roll.
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