Thursday, April 13, 2017

#SOL17: When Beginning a ********

from Diebenkorn's handwritten list of what he should consider when beginning a painting.

Richard Diebenkorn
Berkeley #19
, 1954
The University of Arizona Museum of Art

The other day I was looking for one thing and instead, found abstract expressionist painter Richard Diebenkorn's "notes to myself for beginning a painting." This is how much in my life works. Way does in fact lead on to way and what I was first searching for has been forgotten and in its space -- or perhaps in even newer space, is this list.

Diebenkorn's list of ten resonated. These artistic intentions represent ways of being in the world--ways that are familiar, and not.


Most things are a matter of choice. Those that are not, name you.


Here are Diebenkorn's notes (as he wrote them):

Notes to myself on beginning a painting
  1. attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion.
  2. The pretty, initial position which falls short of completeness is not to be valued — except as a stimulus for further moves.
  3. Do search. But in order to find other than what is searched for.
  4. Use and respond to the initial fresh qualities but consider them absolutely expendable.
  5. Dont “discover” a subject — of any kind.
  6. Somehow don’t be bored — but if you must, use it in action. Use its destructive potential.
  7. Mistakes can’t be erased but they move you from your present position.
  8. Keep thinking about Polyanna.
  9. Tolerate chaos.
  10. Be careful only in a perverse way.


Keep thinking about Pollyanna?

Polyanna knew optimism. Knew it on a first name basis. 


There are multiple ways to look at anything we set aside and call an event. It is mostly contrived.

It is good to remember that it is at points of utterance that meaning is made. 


When I am composing selves or art or relationships or work--I am conscious of and forgetful of Diebenkorn's list. What lingers the most today is: "Mistakes can’t be erased but they move you from your present position."

I used that idea as I composed today. Instead of ruing the mistakes made, I kept open to see where they might lead.

I wish schools were more like home.


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