What matters to an active man is to do the right thing; whether the right thing comes to pass should not bother him.
Letting go isn’t easy for me. I love scheduled programs and persistence. I’ve always had the belief that everything can be better. While that may be true to a certain extent, daily painting is trying to show me that dropping something bad and moving on is a much better route.
“Surely you can fix this,” Resistance affirms.
“People will be amazed by your work when this comes together.”
“The only way is through. Keep going and you’ll get there.”
You see, every strength can be turned into a weakness. Resistance knows I can push this strength to a fault.
I created 7 paintings or drawings this week. I kept three. More than half went in the garbage.
Ultimately I’d like to have to confidence to easily trash my bad work. If a painting doesn’t have a magical feeling from the beginning, I want to be able to honestly assess and then drop it.
An artist knows how to let go.
That’s what Steven Pressfield advocates for in his book, “The Artist’s Journey”. (Incredible book, by the way. I suggest reading “The War of Art” first).
He talked about visiting his friend Robert Bidner in his studio, where he noticed a “sheaf” of paintings against a back wall.
“Those are my clinkers,” Bob said.
In the days when homes were heated by coal, he explained, every load inevitably contained one or two lumps that refused to burn.
Those were called clinkers.
Steven said he couldn’t stop his eyes form returning to the abandoned paintings. He asked Bob if he ever hauled any back out and tried to make them work.
Bob said, “I used to,” then shook his head. “You gotta know when to let go.”