A finished piece is, in effect, a test of correspondence between imagination and execution. And perhaps surprisingly, the more common obstacle to achieving that correspondence is not undisciplined execution, but undisciplined imagination. It’s altogether too seductive to approach your proposed work believing your materials to be more malleable than they really are, your ideas more compelling, your execution more refined. As Stanley Kunitz once commented, “The poem in the head is always perfect. Resistance begins when you try to convert it into language.” And it’s true, most artists don’t daydream about making great art—they daydream about having made great art. What artist has not experienced the feverish euphoria of compsing the perfect thumbnail sketch, first draft, negative or melody—only to run headlong into a stone wall trying to convert that tantalizing hint into the finished mural, novel, photograph, sonata. The artist’s life is frustrating not because the passage is slow, but because he imagines it to be fast.

…art is something you do out in the world, or something you do about the world, or even something you do for the world. The need to make art may not stem solely from the need to express who you are, but from a need to complete a relationship with something outside yourself. As a maker of art you are custodian of issues larger than self.

from Art & Fear by Bayles and Orland

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