Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Some Sunday thoughts by Ira Glass, host of This American Life:
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.
But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have.
We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

Sometimes I think, "Why do I continue to struggle with this feeling that I can be better when I could just quit?"  Do you ever feel that way?  

La Rouge
watermedia on half sheet Arches (15 x 22 inches)

I guess the best thing is to just not quit.  Just keep working at it, going on, getting a little better each time you try.  I am soooo much better than I was when I began this journey but sooo much farther away from where I want to be.  So...keep on working at it (and stop whining when it gets hard).  But sometimes you just want a piece of pie and hot cup of coffee and a good book :)

My goal is to create pieces of work that evoke feelings - good or bad - but not indifferent!!  I don't want someone to look at my painting and say, "Wow, that must have taken her a long time to paint that."  That, to me, is not art.  I really want to convey something of myself - you know, we all have something inside ourselves that is ours alone.  I think my "something" is trying to break out - or maybe this is just a phase I'm going through!  Time to spend some time cogitating and asking hard questions about what my work means to me and what I want it to mean in the future.  I only have another 25-or-so years to go (if I'm lucky and stay healthy) in order to get where I want to be!


Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Holy smokes! You went for it on this one! I have been playing catch up on blog reading after a busy week and so have just read your last few posts. Looking at the before picture and reading that you have been feeling that you had overworked some recent pieces I think you have resolved the problem don't you?

I thought the dark arch previously was weighing down heavily on the figure but now she is blasting through and the switch in colour and saturation between top and bottom makes for a much more positive feeling. She put me in mind of a mermaid and made me think of a favourite film - Finding Nemo (I know, don't judge ;o) and a quote, 'When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming..' or in this case just keep painting! This one is the proof! Don't bin it. Maybe in a few months you will see this piece as a breakthrough - a necessary step on the way to something BIG. I can see it, can you?

Gary L. Everest said...

Hi Rhonda,
Wow! You're really getting somewhere with this painting. Much more free, inventive and better--whatever that means. :)
Great post with truly meaningful words. Never quit and never settle. Tough to do with a deadline for a show, but maybe a few deadlines are just what the doc ordered to keep our noses at the grindstone.
Anyway, between not giving-up and not settling for "okay", the final piece to this puzzle is being brutally honest with yourself. I post plenty of photos of my work that I know suck, and that's okay. In my mind, I know what the painting can be. I hope visitors will take away the idea that the game isn't over. Work will continue until I get it the way I see it in my head, or destroy the canvas.
Trashing a canvas is okay, too, when you finally know you've done your best and it's still not what's in your mind. Win some, lost some, but you've gotta move on.
So, Rhonda, I salute you for keeping this piece on your easel!

E.M. Corsa said...

You did what I rarely am able to do. You created a beautiful piece, full of vigor and life, from a painting you weren't pleased with. Great job Rhonda!

Caroline Simmill said...

Just do the painting Rhonda and don't make any judgement on it, not yet. Let it flow and see what happens. I tutor beginner's art classes and I always say to my new girls just draw, just paint, let it flow and don't make a judgement until you are feeling confident and at peace with being creative. Art is so subjective, some will like your new work, some won't understand it, some won't like it. But it is all OK. I would hope you keep painting because you enjoy it, at the end of the day that is what it is all about, being creative and having fun, being at peace with it all. Go Rhonda go .....

Deborah Nolan said...

Rhonda what a super revision. So glad you kept on. Great thoughts to friend. Hope you have a super day.

Jeanette Jobson said...

Sometimes we just need to keep going with something. Its easy to stop too soon, but the painting isn't ready to stop. Keep reaching for the destination in mind and brush.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

like what you have done with this a lot :) glad you did something to the arch, fits a lot better with the work now. to me this is full of a lot of energy, the colours are great

that quote is def something beginning artist should be told

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks so much for the comments on this revision, Lisa, Gary, Elizabeth, Debbie, and Jennifer Rose!

Caroline and Jeanette, I know what you mean about reaching for more and also for accepting your own work and enjoying the process at every step. Although sometimes it is a struggle to do something else! ha ha Maybe it's just the old autumn angst creeping in on me?

Amy Bryce said...

Love. You just made my day.

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Amy :)