Day 48

Not that long ago, I believed that when I got to a point that I could handle charcoal in a manner much like this, and find a solution to the drawing in front of me in a manner much like this, that self-satisfaction would settle over me and I’d be content. Not long ago is almost always yesterday, and today, I look over at what’s come off the board and find that the critic is louder than the applause. It’s a stance that’s become so familiar that there’s relatively little anxiety wrapped up in self criticism. The feeling of coming up short just leads into setting up the challenge for tomorrow’s drawing. This may be the central issue, that I’m not predicating a successful drawing on a finished work, but on the feel of the total experience, the feel of it’s flow, the feel of struggle, the feel of a well placed line, the feel of a solution, the feel of satisfaction, even the feel of dissatisfaction… Lately, I usually feel this way while I’m making a work, but that feeling fades when I set down my charcoal. Now I’ve learned to enjoy that feeling too, using the moment to note the criticisms and note what’s worked before walking away. It feels so much different with distance. It’s much easier to smile.

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