Monday, September 7, 2009

"I don't believe that the artist has to wait until the muses come. I believe that the muses live within you and all you have to do is paint." Tamayo

In Twyla Tharp's book, The Creative Habit, she talks about how she has organized her time and concentrated her energies in order to do her creative work:

"I eliminated every distraction, sacrificed almost everything that gave me pleasure, placed myself in a single-minded isolation chamber, and structured my life so that everything was not only feeding the work but subordinated to it. It's not a particularly sociable way to operate. It's actively anti-social. On the other hand, it is pro-creative."

Sounds a little extreme to me. Of course, the single-minded, obsessed artist is a centuries-old archetype. Rufino Tamayo had the same intense focus. He was a Zapotecan Indian painter which is kind of fun to say.
(For image, see this.) In an interview years ago for ArtNews, he described his incredible work schedule. He lived into his 90s, and even at 79 at the time of the interview, he put in long hours. Tamayo said he usually worked steadily for 8 hours a day, listening to Bach or Mozart while he painted, stopping briefly for lunch, and then continuing "until the light fades." His wife wasn't so excited about this: "The only thing he loves is working. I do everything for him. . . And what does he do? He only works and never opens his mouth. I live with a mute!"

What is the goal, then? If you don't take an extreme approach to your art are you doomed to being a dabbler, a dilettante? Can you snap your fingers and get something done quickly or is time the main ingredient that can't be worked around? Are there any shortcuts to making the time you do have more productive? I don't know. I'd love to hear some ideas.

I like Agnes De Mille's words about guessing and trying: " Living is a form of not being sure. Not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we make leap after leap in the dark."

1 comment:

  1. Turner is a fav, thanks for the honor of posting me with him