Found among painter Richard Diebenkorn’s papers after he died in 1993: ‘Notes to myself on beginning a painting’ (with the original punctuation).
attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion.
The pretty, initial position which falls short of completeness is not to be valued — except as a stimulus for further moves.
Do search. But in order to find other than what is searched for.
Use and respond to the initial fresh qualities but consider them absolutely expendable.
Dont “discover” a subject — of any kind.
Somehow don’t be bored — but if you must, use it in action. Use its destructive potential.
Mistakes can’t be erased but they move you from your present position.
Keep thinking about Polyanna.
Be careful only in a perverse way.
‘Do search. But in order to find other than what is searched for’ is a principle we deeply believe in. It echoes the nugget we found recently in Rebecca Solnit’s great A Field Guide to Getting Lost:
‘That thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you is usually what you need to find, and finding it is a matter of getting lost.’
Related posts: ribbon bookmark + a field guide to getting lost
john mcphee on ‘getting going’ and ‘finishing things’
evolution of a matisse in 13 drawings
sister corita kent’s enduring rules for making + her art
chuck close’s ‘note to self’ (eight perfect rules for living)