the process of “catching up” was no longer valid

January 31st, 2015, 3pm

Artist Dina Brodsky said, “this process of ‘catching up’ was no longer valid for me.”

It was therefore somewhat of a shock to discover a few years ago that this process of “catching up” was no longer valid for me. There is still more to learn, and more to discover, and always will be, but the need to frantically catch up to something, or someone, who knew more than I did was artificial, and probably had been for a long time. There will always be someone who knows more, who paints better, and that is a good thing, that is what provides inspiration and the desire to improve. However, I found that the world will not collapse if I am painting eight hours a day rather than twelve, and I might actually get a chance to experience some of it. 1

It was maybe a year ago I have accepted that I will never catch up to the level of other artists. “Catching up” was not possible. No one will ever catch up to other artist because, unless the artist is dead, artists are always in motion and moving forward. There will be times when an artist is in a quagmire and eventually other artists will “catch up”, but the artist will always manage to get out of his/her quagmire. If “catching up” is the other artist’s aspiration then he/she has missed the spirit of making art—the love of making art, or the umami in cooking.

My friend’s mother used to say, “no matter how well you may have followed the recipe, if you did not put the love into it, it will never come out right.” The CEO of the public relations company that I used to work for said, “If you enjoy what you do, then people will notice your work.” If an artist aspires only to “catching up” then the umami will always be missing in his/her work. Neither the spirit nor the love is there. The audience will sense it in their subconscious.

The process of “catching up” was also no longer valid for me. I will always be learning, but I will never “catch up” to another artist, and no other artist will ever catch up to me. The latter two are the least important, but what is most important is the love or the umami I put into it.

  1. Brodsky, Dina. “Finding Your Way.” Artists on Art. Artists on Art Publications. Winter 2015. Web 31 Jan. 2015.

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Daniel Chow

a pair of geese flew by ☙ outside my studio window ☙ i'm glad elephants don't fly ☛

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