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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Starting and searching

Rock Study, 11X14, by Carol L. Douglas. I did this rock study with my pal Bruce Bundock and hated it at the time. I love it today.
I admire the well-planned, carefully-drafted, meticulously-executed painting, but something happens between the time I start and the time I finish. A furious spirit overtakes me that drives me irresistibly in the opposite direction.

This is why I’m very reluctant to wipe out all but the absolute worst starts. In so many cases, what I thought was bad five years ago has turned out to be pivotal in my evolution as a painter. I’ve come to listen to my ‘bad’ paintings; they’re usually trying to tell me something.
Rockport, 9X12, by Carol L. Douglas.
Textile artist Jane Bartlett sent me the list below, which was (according to the Internet) found among Diebenkorn’s papers after his death in 1993. I haven’t corrected the spelling or punctuation, even though they pain me.

Notes to myself on beginning a painting (by Richard Diebenkorn)
1. attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion.
2. The pretty, initial position which falls short of completeness is not to be valued — except as a stimulus for further moves.
3. Do search. But in order to find other than what is searched for.
4. Use and respond to the initial fresh qualities but consider them absolutely expendable.
5. Dont “discover” a subject — of any kind.
6. Somehow don’t be bored — but if you must, use it in action. Use its destructive potential.
7. Mistakes can’t be erased but they move you from your present position.
8. Keep thinking about Pollyanna.
9. Tolerate chaos.
10. Be careful only in a perverse way.

Rock Tumble, 16X20, unframed, by Carol L. Douglas
I will be teaching in Acadia National Park next August. Read all about it here, or download a brochure here

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