Tuesday, September 11, 2007

4. Already Astounding

There is a point to this story.

(Early June)
When I showed up at 8am at the car rental place, my credit card didn't go through, so the dude drove me home, with my bike, so I could pick up a utility bill. On the drive back, he asked what I do at the art college.

"You a teacher or something?"

"No, I'm a manager in the bookstore," I said, "and I'm an artist too."

After about a block, the dude says, "I've gotta ask you something. When I draw, I can't get the image in my head out onto the paper. It just comes out looking like a child drew it."

"It takes years to develop the hand-eye coordination," I said.

"Anyway, I can't draw; I'm a golfer. I don't know if you know much about golf, but a perfect game is fifty-nine points. Very few people ever get that score. But if you talk to just about anyone who has, they'll tell you, 'Oh, I missed a shot here; I could have done better there...'"

"So, is it possible ever to achieve your vision?" I offered.

"Yeah, how do you deal with that?"

"It can be a struggle, but there's a point in making something when the art takes over and it becomes a piece all its own. A lot of times the result will be better than your original vision. But you can keep trying to achieve that vision in another piece."

As we exited the van at the rental office, I concluded by responding to his comment about pro golfers, "Artists are always their own biggest critics."

I was astounded and refreshed by this ten-block conversation.


If I'm to be anything as a painter, I've got to break through the iron wall between what I feel and what I can express. My best chance of doing it is here, where my roots are. The people I know. The earth I know.

--Vincent van Gogh (Kirk Douglas) in Lust For Life, 1956.




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