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Old 08-06-2011, 06:48 PM
fritzie fritzie is offline
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Approaching breakthrough

A friend posted a query on his blog asking the following question:"When you believe you are at a breakthrough point in your art, do you back away or lean in?" As not very many people respond to his blog, I thought I would pose his question here.

I would have hypothesized that once at the breakthrough point almost all artists would lean in. I would have thought that giving up would more normally occur when the point of breakthrough seems elusive.

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-07-2011, 12:08 AM
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Re: Approaching breakthrough

i'd concur with your hypothesis = )

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Old 08-07-2011, 01:28 AM
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Re: Approaching breakthrough

Lean in--

--or, jump in!
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:57 AM
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Re: Approaching breakthrough

why would you back away? i dont understand.
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Old 08-07-2011, 09:25 AM
fritzie fritzie is offline
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Re: Approaching breakthrough

Kate, I think the guy who posed the question originally believes people are sometimes hampered by fear of success and sabotage themselves.
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Old 08-07-2011, 12:11 PM
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Re: Approaching breakthrough

Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzie
Kate, I think the guy who posed the question originally believes people are sometimes hampered by fear of success and sabotage themselves.

I've often been afraid I couldn't live up to my dreams, so I've pulled the rug out from under myself before reality could show me that, yes, I really wasn't any good.

Through working with writing arts for a few years, I've learned that failures are part of the process of growth, that there are many more failures than successes, that failures don't indicate lack of talent.

Now as I move back towards committing myself to doing art, I think I will lean in, rather than hold back.

When you do something well, you can get unwanted attention, which can feel unsafe, chaotic, unsettling, disagreeable. I'm still learning how to handle that. One option is to hold back so success doesn't come. That's not an option for me anymore.
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Old 08-08-2011, 07:48 AM
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Re: Approaching breakthrough

Quote:
Originally Posted by qwerck
Through working with writing arts for a few years, I've learned that failures are part of the process of growth, that there are many more failures than successes, that failures don't indicate lack of talent.


Writing is a great way to learn that most of writing is done in the editing. I feel that most of art is too. You go through certain sequences of events in any form of creativity, and at any stage the thing you are creating teeters between creation and destruction. It is only when it is done that you know that it is done.

I'd say "lean in" also. I've been stupid in my artistic life, and I have also been smart. I do know that nothing is ever accomplished by walking away, (though you might need to "re-group" and tackle it in a different way). Fear should never be an obstacle.
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Old 08-08-2011, 08:05 AM
AllisonR AllisonR is offline
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Re: Approaching breakthrough

Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzie
A friend posted a query on his blog asking the following question:"When you believe you are at a breakthrough point in your art, do you back away or lean in?" As not very many people respond to his blog, I thought I would pose his question here.


That people did not answer just may be the answer he is looking for. People that read that question and then admit to themselves "I back away" may feel uncomfortable for many reasons answering that way. So they don't answer.

It's like asking a group of overweight people on a dieting forum "How much weight did you loose last month?" Instead of everyone answering, and the results being valid, in general, the ones that lost weight will post "Hey, I lost 3 kilos. Hurray!" and the ones that are the same or did not loose weight will just not answer. So the results will look like a lot of people lost weight, but the stats are actually totally invalid.

Now, to anwer the question myself. Depends. Just yesterday I finished a second in a series, where I totally deviated from the 1st. Could have been a big disappointment, but I thought I will jump in and try. But other times - like for a while I have had an urge to do some more portraits in a style completely alien to me, I keep backing away, thinking it will be a failure, it will be worse than I expect, it feels confusing to me....
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:27 AM
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Re: Approaching breakthrough

Quote:
Originally Posted by Use Her Name
Writing is a great way to learn that most of writing is done in the editing. I feel that most of art is too. You go through certain sequences of events in any form of creativity, and at any stage the thing you are creating teeters between creation and destruction. It is only when it is done that you know that it is done...

When writing, I put ideas down, anyhow and out of sequence, so as not to lose them, then rearrange and burnish details.

When I do art, unless I'm doing fast sketches, I work out of sequence, building very rough visuals, then carving away, rather than planning and layering up. I've sometimes felt, when doing long-pose sketches, that I draw more with an eraser than with conte or charcoal. And I was thinking something was wrong with that approach.

So thanks, your comment has tied the writing approach into the art approach for me, and showed me that however I'm working, it's OK.
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Last edited by qwerck : 08-08-2011 at 11:29 AM. Reason: remove extra with
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:56 AM
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Re: Approaching breakthrough

I can remember the exact moment of the major "breakthrough" in my oil painting. I had decided to paint my son's cockatoo with huge, Bob Ross Palette knife strokes, and to create a branch for her to be perched upon, instead of a cage dowel.

I got about halfway through the painting, and as I began to begin painting the branch, I thought to myself, how foolish it was for me to slap paint on with a trowel, or a 2-inch brush, with the idea of creating an "impression of a branch" when I already knew I could draw a branch that would end up appearing like a real one, instead of merely an impression of a branch. I figured that if I could draw a branch with a pencil, then all I needed to do was draw with paint, and with a much smaller brush. Well, it worked, and I created a branch that appeared as though you could reach into the painting, and pick it up.

That painting was one of my turning points, and "lean into it" I did, and I never looked back. From then on, I've experienced a few, minor "breakthroughs", but that is the one that I shall always remember. The concept of "drawing with paint" was my major breakthrough.

The main concept of that breakthough is that it caused me to realize that I no longer needed to paint as others were telling me that I ought to be painting. Since then I've fine-tuned my methods, and materials, but that was the one that I consider to be my major breakthrough.

The other, nearly major breakthrough would have been the invention of my own glazing medium, that occurred as a "desperation attempt" in the middle of a painting one day, and that has served me well for many years now. Talk about leaning into it. I've had absolutely no desire to return to my previous methods or materials, and I truly can't even afford to return to those previous conditions, now because I don't wish to jeopardize the success that I've experienced with my work.
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Last edited by WFMartin : 08-08-2011 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:58 AM
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Re: Approaching breakthrough

for me sometimes stagnation came after an artistic breakthrough. After making a work that (to my feelings) was really important, other attempts would seem futile ('it will be less meaningful/good' )
It's good to get rid of works like that (send them off to exhibit or sell them)
I'd do fun stuff after that just to distract myself.
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Last edited by Evelien1 : 08-23-2011 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:44 AM
Razz Razz is offline
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Re: Approaching breakthrough

Success can be a scary thing. Personally I still back away when something shows up. It's a wierd thing really...I can just feel whether it's time or not to lean in.
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Old 03-19-2012, 05:55 PM
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Re: Approaching breakthrough

my breakthroughs come and go. I had a breakthrough when a teacher showed us how a shadow is constructed. that gave me a foundation to pursue naturalism for a while and learn more accurate drawing. I had a breakthrough when a teacher taught us to compose an entire surface and not just drop a drawing in the middle and call it done. i had a breakthrough when I learned to make thumbnails smaller than a business card. my biggest breakthrough came after that when I quit trying to emulate other artists and started making drawings and paintings that i liked cause I had quit finding art that inspired me. I began making art that I was looking for but could not find in books and museums. I began making what I wanted to and not what I thought it should be. I had to find satisfaction in making art that i thought was ugly unnatural intimate. art that was hard to explain to others but gave me satisfaction.
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