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  • Writer's pictureGillian Holding

Writing and Making

There's no substitute for making art. You can kid yourself that reading, writing and thinking are all a vital part of the process but that's just procrastinating self-delusion in play. Writing and thinking is a way of avoiding progress which is a way of avoiding failure. There is no progress in art-making without failure. I once did a series of blog posts on #dailyfail (see here for an example) and well meaning people rushed to console me and assure me I was not a failure. It was missing the point. Failure - ten steps back for every step forward - is essential.

The small oil sketch below took a very short time to paint. I was painting from imagination. I had no idea when I started what form the image would take.The first five minutes went well. They always do. There is immense possibility and potential within a few broad brush strokes. The image can go anywhere and optimism is sky high. Then as the minutes pass and the detail creeps in and the brushwork tightens, all is lost. There are three choices: wipe out and start again (cowardly and loser-ish); leave and chuck (unthinkable); plough on, paint in and over, lose the image in the process which is now out of control. A high risk strategy which will possibly make things even worse, but stick with it long enough and a miracle will happen. At some point. Ten steps back, one step forward.

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