Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Salute You, Artists!

I’m writing this as my tribute to all the artists who visit this blog. So hear me out!

I’m now in the midst of revising STOS # 1 and the first thing I picked up was the need to kill off / delete almost 3 pages writing of a character. I had no problem with that as upon completion of the draft of the story, I knew that that character was of no use to my story.

As anyone of you who use computer, you know that to delete something is pretty easy. You just hit that little square which marked "delete" on your keyboard and whatever you want to go will disappear. Now, what if you want it back? Easy, especially if you’re like me – storage paranoia, you would have saved the original on a separate file. Anytime you want it back, you just call up the file and there it is. No sweat! And there is the magical "cut and paste" function which enables us to move text and / or images around the document in seconds. So all in all, we’re cruising.

Now, pardon me for my absolute ignorance of doing any art and craft work. I’m sure there must be ways and techniques that you could cover up whatever "wrongs" an artist find in h/her artwork. But by the large, a piece of artwork (unless you go for computer art, I guess) is a one-off done by hand project. If you decide to take out something after the painting is done, you might need to start from scratch.

Just like when I learn knitting from my mother as a young girl, I missed stitches all the time. By the time when I saw the hole made by missing stitches, I would have done 10 rows of knitting. Mum would make me undone all the rows back to the missing stitches to fix it. I always protest.

"No, I’m not going to do it all over again. I’d rather have holes in my scarf!"

"As you wish." Mum would answer.

And I ended up wearing scarf with lots of holes.

Same here with artworks - imagine the time and effort to work on a painting over and over again. Ah, I can’t bear to think about it! And to avoid such situation, I presume an artist will need to be extremely careful of each brush stroke. This would create huge pressure and impact on the free flow of creativity.

I'm beginning to realize that may be my work, as a writer, in certain way, is easy. I mean, unless I dislike my story to the maximum, I never have to start from scratch after the draft is finished.

So all of you artists out there, you have my absolute admiration!

I'd love to hear from all types of artists about how you fix your project as this will make me feel good about my work! ;)

(And you're right, I'm writing this instead of rewriting STOS # 1 ... I'm procristinating ...!!!)


Sarah said...

Hmmmm...I think the hardest part for me is to start filling in the pencil work with ink, color or paint. Sometimes my nice pencil drawings sit waiting for me to find the courage to let fly. A mistake.. well sometimes it so horrid - something totally out of perspective or a kiddo bumps me and zoooop we're done - then you just start all over. Is painful. But more often than not you can find some way to work the mistake into the piece and only you know it's a muff. I generally do the hardest part of a piece first - like the figures - if I muff that - at least I haven't spent hours on the rest.
I have discovered though - what I think may be "not great or ok with me" is wonderful to someone else's eyes.
Great post and good question! I do love your blog!!! Hugs, Sarah

Holly said...

Okay, I can only speak to this in terms of water colors which I mess with but am so not proficient with...

And, there are times when it is flat out a mistake...and it ruins what you did to that point.

Or, you can sigh, and see what you can do with it once you did it rather than chuck it totally. I mean, does it have a new life as something different from what was originally envisioned? There have been times when I've simply cut the finished piece up into smaller pieces. And, the outcome can be quite pleasing.

As to rubber stamps? One wrong positioning can total the hard work. So, I've learned to get creative when that happens because it certainly will. And, like Sarah says, sometimes the things I think are such a sighing waste and mistake, to someone else, someone with vision different than mine, it's a lovely piece of work.

Good question, that!

Angie said...

I admire all creatives but definately writers. They not only use words to express ideas and stories but they also create images in the minds eye, so they paint stories with words!
I have always struggled with creative writing, in school I never did well, but loved to hear others.
And in making mistakes, like junk or refuse, one person's junk is another one's treasure. Some "mistakes" can be used to create some wonderful creative stuff, so keep your ideas for a rainy day.
But some days feel like that is all I'm producing "mistakes".(then I feel at least I'm making something)
It can be frustrating and I can feel like giving up, taking a break helps and so does sharing with others!:)

Hybrid J said...

Hi Sarah,

Reading your post made me feel better about my current procristination ... we can almost always fix the mishaps. And my story might not be as bad as I think! :)

Hybrid J said...

Hi Holly,

Didn't know you're into rubber stamping! And I could appreciate the difficulties of working with stamps. Just like Sarah's comment, you're helping me with my procristination ... ;)

Hybrid J said...

Hi Angie,

What a compliment you gave us writer? Really appreciate that as I'm getting a bit lost lately. I like your idea that even though we might be producing mistakes, but at least we are working on our projects. Great saying! And thank you for sharing! :)

Caroline said...

I am also a painter...oh boy I have had some real "hair pullers" in my Sometimes I have to just stop and step back...then come back to it when I have renewed myself. I can paint for hours on end, no eating, talking,'s like I go mad sometimes...I get exhausted (and that's when I know to let it go for awhile). When I come back refreshed...I always finish the piece feeling very happy.

KnittingJourneyman said...

Does it help to say I came by your blog because I was avoiding my own writing today? :-)

With my artwork-I have been known to throw it away and walk away at the first thought of a sign of a blunder. It's easier to tell myself I am not good enough than to TRY some days.

I have often painted over -- lots of stuff. I made an altered book with lots of 3d accouterments, rubber stamping, fabrics and buttons and everything--and I hated it before it was done. I went back, gessoed everything, leaving even the 3D stuff in place. And am now pretty much awaiting the Muse to tell me here's what we are going to do with this. I have alot of that.

Knitting taught me alot too. I have some holey scarves too I keep around to remind's not about the finished product sometimes...sometimes it is all about the process. So, showing up, knitting or painting or drawing or writing, sometimes it is ok to make a mistake, or lots of mistakes, and still keep going. Sometimes those mistakes turn out to be beautiful focal points in the end. Sometimes those mistakes inspire me to go off in different directions that I had anticipated. Sometimes I am just too tired and whiny and depressed to care and I just want to get things done, and slough it off on the fact that I am only a beginner and things will improve as I go along.

I always tell myself the story of the rug makers/weavers, be they Middle Eastern or Native American or whatever. They purposely weave a mistake or two into their work, so as not to offend the gods. So when I screw up, I tell myself I am honoring the gods and the Muses and they are all smiling upon me for it.

Whatever it takes to take away the feeling of utter guilt I feel for screwing up. :-)

laughingwolf said...

hey j... digital art can be 'fixed' the same way as digital writing ;)

Hybrid J said...

Hi Caroline,

Didn't know you're a painter also. You should post some of your paintings at your site. :) Oh, I do understand the go mad stage. But it most happened to me when I'm generating ideas. For the actual writing process, I tread on snail pace, hahaha!

Hybrid J said...

Oh Tabitha,

So glad to know that I'm not the only one who procristinate! :D

But you really helped to hit the nail about the rug maker / weaver for deliberately made their work imperfect so as not to offend god. Within that lovely story / practice is another inherent nature of being an artist. There are lots of self-blame and guilt going on.

Just like what you said, the "mistakes" could be an indication that we are tired and not fit to work. And the "mistakes" could also be our proejcts telling us we need to go another direction. Most of all, mistakes always happen, we need our mistakes (in our work as well as in our lives) to grow. Aferall, we are not gods!

Thanks heaps for the great comment. ;)

Hybrid J said...

Hey Laughing Wolf,

That's what I think - all things digital are easy to delete / restore, cut & paste to move. Thanks! ;)