I have noticed over the years how many really good artists sketches start with just a squiggle. This squiggle often times isn’t any more refined than any other artist, and sometimes, even a child’s. However, if one does get the privilege to see the process of said artist refining that squiggle, that is where the magic starts to happen. An artist worth his or her salt starts off with that squiggle, and gets down to the business of playing in the creative sandbox and placing it upon a media for those to see (or hear, touch, taste). I must confess, it’s usually this stage that fascinates me the most. If enough of the sketches are laid out, one can see the blind alleys, and the process of creation. Often times, it is the mistakes that make the most difference. Usually, the best stuff is pulled from the destructive flames of a bad sketch into something that turns marvelous. As a side note, it is one of the reasons I love biographies. I want to know what made someone so interesting, not as much about the interesting person they are now.
The little victories, the small sketched gems, aren’t even necessarily used on the project of the original endeavor. When one cultivates an eye for it, these small acorns of art grow into great oaks weeks, months or years later. That is one of the privileges of watching an artist work over time. If an artist influences other artists, the sprout of imagination can even grow and branch into a group, or even an entire movement.
But back to the crux of the matter. A good artist refines what they are doing over time. The process is enjoyable, but also a little frustrating, as one has to know just how far one should go for that work. Too much, too far, too soon, before the artist or idea is ready, and it becomes fodder. If lucky, the idea will resurrect itself in a future project. Or not. Sometimes ideas don’t resurface. Or another artist picks up the torch and creates something of interest. So push, push, push those ideas! Refine, refine, refine until it edges on frustration! Then…. let it go. And take what is learned and move on to something else. he best we can hope for is a snapshot of the best we could do at the time. And if we are dedicated, even if we did a wonderful job, our next works down the road will please us even more.