Here is a sketch of my upcoming print. I invested a lot of time this past week relearning Adobe Illustrator. I learned illustrator back in the late 1980s – so long ago that I had to learn how to use a mouse in the class! I am amazed that I actually remembered some things, but there was a lot of banging my head against the wall and spending hours trying to figure out something that ended up being very simple to do. I think the time I spent will be worth it though, as it makes design adjustments much easier to do and to visualize.
January 30, 2009
January 17, 2009
A few days ago, in the midst of struggling with this print, P.flashed me the flap of a dust jacket on the book he was reading. There, poised and distinguished looking beamed a photo of Robert Pinsky. “You met him once, didn’t you?” he asked. Indeed, many years ago he visited my college poetry class – way before he was the famous Poet Laureate. He was an incredible inspiration to me that I went home and wrote one of the best poems I ever wrote – you see, at the time, I wanted to be a poet. But I never became a successful poet. It was just another dream that I gave up in frustration. It was just too hard.
And that thought reminded me of the screen-saver message that David used to have on the computer – “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” It scrolled like a mantra across the desktop. I suppose it helped him focus on his dreams.
So what to do about getting frustrated? I know that I don’t want to keep giving up on my dreams. I really want to become a successful printmaker. I want to be able to weather the struggles and come out on the peaceful water at the other end.
So here are some of the ways that I use to cope with frustration. I would be interested in hearing from other artists about how they deal with this ubiquitous problem.
- Journal about the frustration.
- Calmly identify the problem(s) and think of at least one potential solution to try.
- Meditate or do yoga.
- Look to others for assistance.
- Keep track of progress over the long term. See how far you have come.
- Read funny cartoons, uplifting quotations, or maybe review some past compliments.
- Get back on the horse – don’t let too much time pass before you start working on the problem again. (I have a lot of abandoned work because of this).
- Be organized and plan ahead as much as possible to avoid frustrations in the first place.
- Let go of the idea of perfection – go for improvement.
- Understand that artwork always takes twice as much time and materials than you plan on.
Bittersweet was one of the most frustrating prints that I have done, but I learned a lot. I now know how to tell if paper has the right moisture content to take color without bleeding. I learned some good tricks about adjusting registration. I got better at organizing before printing. And I learned other things that I can’t even articulate.