I read something truly profound in my Frankie magazine, and I wanted to share it with you. Don’t know Frankie? It’s rather, er, frank. However it’s luscious and I just can’t resist it. But be warned, they swear in the articles, and sometimes discuss sex. Enough said.
Anyway, this is Issue 52 (March/April).
In this article there are 4 wonderful interviews where “iconic australian artists talk change, ageing, failure and creativity.” These 4, Elisabeth Cummings, Robert Dickerson, Mirka Mora and John Olsen are not ones that I am ordinarily acquainted with. However, after reading their interviews, I am definitely humbled. They have much to teach us, these elder artists.
The most profound comment that I took out of these pages is this quote from Elisabeth Cummings when asked “Who or what do you turn to on uninspiring days?”
Oh, I don’t believe in inspiration! I think the only way is to keep working. And if you’re working then something might happen, even if a lot of it’s not marvellously good. Things unfold through the painting itself. And it’s exciting to be in that space when something new is happening. – Elisabeth Cummings.
Another memorable quote by Robert Dickerson when asked “Has painting become easier with experience?”
To paint a good painting is a pretty rare thing to do. I love it. I’m quite excited by a good painting. I know exactly when a painting is good now. If you paint a dud one then you can sit there and make it into a good one – I just paint another picture on top of it. There are probably about four paintings under each one.
And finally, to give the complete end to this lesson, is John Olsen‘s comment when asked “What have you discovered about failure?”
A bad day’s painting or a failure doesn’t concern me, because in a failure you can learn something. You shouldn’t get upset about it. Go pour yourself a glass of wine at the end of the day, because there is tomorrow.
Which about sums up a balanced philosophy about life in general. There is tomorrow.
I want to keep these words all in mind as I try to make some simple creations of my own. I want their lessons down deep where the doubt and fear are, so that they are smothered with hope and with the joy of the process. I want to release that fear, so that I can make something beautiful, and let it be beautiful on its own without worrying about who likes or doesn’t like it, or where it came from or even where it is going. Whether that’s in art, or sewing, or cooking or just in my life.
Isn’t that what we all want?