“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things” – Ray Bradbury
One of the most fearsome things that face artists is the blank page. Getting started on a project can be a very daunting task because in many cases you are creating something from nothing. Thinking about the start of project is not doing, and to create art, one must do something. An idle doodle can lend itself to the creation of a masterpiece, but inevitably doubt often arises when the artist is faced with the question of what to create next.
I don’t know what to create, or I can’t create what I want. “I can’t” and “I don’t know” are the two most maddening responses I receive from students. The aforementioned declarations don’t merit frustration if they are indeed honest appraisals. A student that makes an earnest effort and still falls short has my utmost respect, but the student that says “I can’t” or “I don’t know” as an excuse in the hopes of being let off the proverbial hook is telling me nothing of their knowledge, and everything about their level of commitment to learning.
Art is fickle. It is fun, it is frustrating, it effortless, and each piece created is a series of countless problems that demand solutions in order to be successful. One of the questions that arises in my artistic mind almost daily is “Can I”. Can I create this effect? Can I draw the scene I’m thinking of? Can I lay the paint on the canvas how I want? “Can I” is a dangerous question because it invites self- doubt. “I can’t” and “I don’t know” also invite self-doubt.
Saying “I can’t” and “I don’t know” are not terminal statements. They should be used as an assessment of what one knows and what one doesn’t. From there you can acquire the lacking knowledge and find success. Turn “I can’t” into “I can’t right now…but” and turn “Can I” into “How can I”, then you will be successful or at the very least, have a creative product to show for your time and effort.