Thursday, January 22, 2009
This is today's beautiful sunrise from my sitting room window.
Seeing the day begin, and thinking of President Obama's new beginning, I am thinking of how difficult beginning can sometimes be. When I begin a new tapestry or a new painting, I look at what I want to create and I think, "I don't know how to do this... This is beyond my skills... I don't remember how to paint/weave!" Yes, I do think those things - even though I have been doing this for over 25 years. I went through it earlier this week when I began a new painting.
But then I fill the water bowl, squeeze out some fresh paint, pick up the brush and begin. As I begin, that voice is still there, saying, "This is not going to look right... This is going to be really awful!" But I keep moving the brush from the paint to the canvas, or the yarn through the warp, doing what seems to be right for each mark, each area of color. Then, when I walk away from it and later return, I am surprised to see that it is looking like I wanted it to look like; it's beginning to become a painting or a tapestry!
This process of doubt and surprise happens to me over and over. You would think it would eventually go away. The process for weaving is the same, but I have learned to trust my cartoon and my maquette, even when I don't trust or believe in myself. I guess this is why I don't feel like "An Artist." I know that all I really do is to move paint from the palette to the canvas, or carry the weft threads through the warp threads. I know that I am as surprised as anyone, or more so, when the resulting painting or tapestry turns out to look like I wanted it to. That element of surprise makes me feel like a fraud... Surely a 'real artist' would always expect success!
I imagine President Obama is having some doubts that he is up to the huge job ahead of him. But I have faith that, if he just keeps doing what seems right for each task, he will do very well.
Addendum: If you want to see something to make you smile, go here.