Reposted from Robert and Sara Genn’s twice-weekly newsletter Painter’s Keys

Tag1-1Dear Artist,

Music pervades the studio, the headset-phone rings from time to time, the brush proceeds. Here in the solitude of the easel-station there’s time to consider. I’m looking at hold-ups.
Did you ever stop to realize how drawing holds up brushwork? When work is prepared with a drawing, simple or complex, there’s the tendency to work around the lines and cave in to the drawing. This can be an effective way to go, of course, but for a lot of us drawing is a tyranny which impedes freshness and spontaneity. The virus of overwork easily eats away if there are lines to attend to. Drawing, while often a vital step, ought to be implied or suggested with paucity. Brushstrokes then take on a look, a beauty of their own, and the subject finds itself in the strokes.
And did you ever note how knowledge holds up flow? What we know how to do and have come to depend upon can, in an innocent wander, turn adventure to boredom. Sure, professionalism requires professional knowledge: order, theory, technique, facility. The miracle is that knowledge gives its best confidence when kept quietly in a secondary pocket. Only then comes the undisputed magic of letting go. I’m not sure about everybody but it seems what we want more than anything in our work are passages, even minor moments, of con brio.
Best regards,I don’t mind confessing that I live for those moments and cherish them when they arrive. And when those moments elude me I’m most distressed.


PS: “Leave your strokes alone.” (Ted Smuskiewicz)

PPS: “Perform with elan, brilliance and dash — at concert pitch.” (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)

Esoterica: What does not impede is the knowledge that others are and have been on the same path. While our stars may not, for the time being, shine as bright as Monet’s or Georgia O’Keeffe’s, we are nevertheless of the sisterhood and brotherhood. We’re not alone.