The Artist’s Way week 11 / on bad art

I can’t believe that the Artist’s Way is nearly done!  It has been such a big part of my life for the last 3 months.

The bit in this week’s chapter that I really need to remember (it was a theme earlier in the book too) is the bit about making bad art.   I struggle with the concept that to make good art you first need to make bad art.  Actually, I’m not sure it’s quite as clear-cut as that: maybe to make good art you need to make bad art, or at least be open to making bad art, all the time.

Another thing that chimed in with that theme this week was reading Anne Lamott’s words about shitty first drafts, which made me feel better about my terrible NaNoWriMo novel.

I think this is really one area where the process of learning the sciences is very different to learning the arts (I’m not sure the real-life practice of them is as different: I’ve had experiments, programs and computer models that definitely count as ‘shitty first drafts’.)

Learning maths was a matter of building blocks – you learn to do something simple then extend it and extend it.  You try to solve something and you can either do it or you can’t (in class, anyway.  Maths competitions were a bit different.)  So in order to do good maths, you first do easy maths, then make it incrementally harder.

To me, that’s so different from learning to draw a picture or write a story.  You can draw a picture straight away!  But it sucks.  It is nothing like what you wanted it to be like.  It is nothing like what an artist you admire would do.  It’s not anywhere near as good as your teacher has just done in the 5 minute demo.

You don’t get that in maths class.  You, Einstein and your teacher all get just as good an answer as each other to what the root of that square number is.

I know that’s a big part of why, despite getting an A band 1 (that I’m still inordinately proud of) in Higher English, I never for a moment considered continuing with English. You could have two answers that were both right!  Scary stuff.

The Artist’s Way has been tremendously healthy in challenging my attitudes to creative experimentation and getting me to give things a go.

On the weekly check-in stuff:
– 7/7 on the morning pages again, I think they’re totally embedded now
– I enjoyed my Artist’s Date at the wind turbine. I was thinking of going to the BP Portrait Award exhibition on my own, but as it happened my sister, my nephew and Mr Woodsmoke all came along too which was fab. Mr Woodsmoke isn’t a big art person but really enjoyed the exhibition (nephew slept through it).
– I am still rebelling when it comes to synchronicity
Finally enjoying an art class reminded me that sometimes it’s worth persevering through a crap phase!

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One Response to The Artist’s Way week 11 / on bad art

  1. Pingback: The Artist’s Way week 11 / on bad art | altdotlife: Build your own village

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