Some Things I’ve Learned

Some things these past two weeks of travel, upheaval, meeting new people and old, have clarified:

  • I feel despondent when I’ve been away from the studio for too long
  • I feel adrift when my routine has been de-railed
  • How I feel about the worthiness of my work is a fickle thing unworthy of my trust.– It is beneficial to my mental health to distrust the voice that says a painting is unworthy when I’m in a fug
  • When I have tunnel vision, it’s euphoric to widen my view and see all the groovy paintings I still have to look forward to painting
  • It is always premature to think a painting a failure before it’s done
  • It would be far more troubling if I were easily pleased with the work I produced rather than the other way around
  • As long as I keep working, everything will be okay

Katherine Herriman

It’s time for a Patrick Rothfuss quote:

“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”

— “The Name of the Wind”

…and sometimes my inner-narrator can be a neurotic bitch.

4 Comments Some Things I’ve Learned

  1. Mikeachim

    Ahh, I feel the parallels.

    Going into a decline when you’re not working or not into your work? Check. In fact, work is a big part of my mood these days. That used to worry the hell out of me. Some part of me thinks that any kind of work is something you should emotionally keep distant, at arm’s length, because it’s just for money.

    Then I read lots of things written by people who became successful by doing something creative.

    OK, so my writing is like a facehugger out of Alien. If I try to remove it, I’ll die. Hey, I’m fine with that. Let’s work with that.

    Self-worth feelings: well, that’s also tricky. But feeling great/crappy is a consequence of getting emotionally intimate with what you do for a living, which is a consequence of doing good work.

    This I believe.

    So your list, basically, is a list of things you’re doing right. Probably deserving of a pat on the back. Please ask Michael to give you one of those immediately.

    I’ve got into a really bad habit of quoting Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech to illustrate points. Really bad habit. Basically just makes me a copy & paste monkey. So it stops now.

    Right after this quote from Neil Gaiman:

    “The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.

    The things I’ve done that worked the best were the things I was the least certain about, the stories where I was sure they would either work, or more likely be the kinds of embarrassing failures people would gather together and talk about until the end of time. They always had that in common: looking back at them, people explain why they were inevitable successes. While I was doing them, I had no idea.

    I still don’t. And where would be the fun in making something you knew was going to work?”

    1. Katherine

      I was always love it when you drop a K bomb on my blog, Mike. You reminded me that I’ve been meaning to watch Neil Gaimon’s commencement speech so I watched it today. This was my favourite part – “Leave the world more interesting for you being here. Make good art”


  2. Rhonda

    I love your openness about your feelings…and that you share with yourself as much as you do with us…Sooooo Authentic! Thank you, as that is such a rarity….I have many days like yours, and all I can say is that I must remind myself often that it’s better to be HERE, to Be than not to…..Life has no dress rehearsal, as they say. Give it a big, full on GO GIRL! Paint anyway. Love anyway. Dream anyway. That all counts. You have a blessedly splendid week!

    1. Katherine

      Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Rhonda. I think I will have that blessedly splendid week ;)


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