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Note to self: Don’t be (so) boring.

with 8 comments

Why do what we do? (Gotta keep asking)

Do something every day.WhatIsArt-04302015

Do that something every day for 30 years.

Has that something lost its freshness?

Over on Dumb Sketch Daily—my ongoing project of learning to see—every once in a while I get caught up with trying to create art. It is almost always a mistake for me to try to create art. I am no artist and the impulse to create art results in weirdly earnest dumb sketches, sort of like a child putting on dad’s tie (do dad’s wear ties these days?) or mom’s high heels.

Still—one must experiment. And that experimentation is good because it draws the questions forward yet again.

Doing something every day, and somehow keeping it fresh, means asking the “Why am I doing this?” that drives the behavior. Yesterday I had to remember that my goal is not to create art. Making art is simply too high and too unrealistic a goal for me. It works for others, and many who comment on that blog and whom I follow are creating honest-to-goodness, bona fide, Grade A art.

Every single day.

But not me.

I’m just trying to see better. That’s a goal and purpose I can rally around. Trying to see how light shines on stuff. Trying to see what a face looks like, the creases, the asymmetry, the tractor beams that shine from eyeballs. Seeing what posture says. Seeing how shadow falls across a 100 year-old building. All of that happens as I try (and mostly fail) to capture real life on paper. The real life happening around me.


Something good and productive happens with revisiting the “Why?” question. My sense is that if I can be reengaged with the question, and with seeing how it was answered differently today, I may even be less boring. At least for a few moments.


Dumb sketches: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

April 30, 2015 at 9:06 am

8 Responses

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  1. Reblogged this on Dumb Sketch Daily and commented:

    Anyway, what is art?


    April 30, 2015 at 9:07 am

  2. Your artwork is definitely improving. We could all see ourselves as “good” or “bad” artists, depending upon which peer we select to compare ourselves with, but seeing more clearly has its own advantages, as you say, that move way beyond a painting.


    April 30, 2015 at 9:49 am

  3. Oh and “what is art?” is another great question. Let me know if you find out.


    April 30, 2015 at 9:50 am

  4. It is all about the journey! The process you describe, is the way of making art. It’s just not to the standard, or where you would like to be. We’ve all felt this way at one time or another. You can meet that expectation if you keep going. The approach of just beginning, and not expecting a work of art is liberating, and frees you to express yourself.
    I’ve been an artist most of my life, which is more years than I would like to admit having lived! Sometimes my creativity is focused on other things, but it keeps my art fresh, and makes it fun! I just recently came back to painting again. It is probably what I know best, but I like to dabble in animation, illustration, and writing.
    Keep on doing what you’re doing!

    Tracy Bezesky

    April 30, 2015 at 3:13 pm

  5. But you are making art. Just don’t try to make Art. That’s my advice (not that I always follow it). You are communicating through what you create. And it’s your creation and way of seeing the world, not someone else’s that you may admire, which is the way it should be.


    May 1, 2015 at 6:31 am

  6. What a nice post! I like your approach of learning to see, which actually means learning to notice, I think. Notice the small things. I think that´s where art begins. All art, writing, painting, making music is noticing small things and then putting them together. The way each one of us does this is his unique style, that´s the outcome of his art. I think, what you do is art. Most people notice art only if it hangs on the wall or if they hold it in their hands as a book or if they hear it in the opera. So it´s a question of materials whether it will be noticed as art or not. Imagine your little drawings up there done with great quality paint and brushes on a large canvas hanging on a museum wall – it´s art. I think mostly the choice of materials will make the difference whether something will be accepted as art or not. Not the art itself. Just put a simple blue ballpoint pen doolde in a nice frame – I think you would be able to sell it as an artwork. 😉

    ann christina

    May 1, 2015 at 7:20 am

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