"Be altogether honest: anything less jeopardizes your daily practice."
- Eric Maisel, The Power of Daily Practice (58)
The Role of Honesty in Daily Practice
Being honest in my daily painting practice means having the courage to show up and confront my fears about making my paintings. It means being willing to admit that I don't have all the answers and being prepared to try and fail over and over. Being honest means I commit to still show up and put in my full power and effort into my practice, even when I feel weak and uncertain.
Where I Could Be More Honest in My Practice
I need to recognize that my painting practice will not win approval from everyone. When I make work, I need to accept that it will not be meaningful or good or interesting to everyone. I need to let go of the need to achieve as a motivation for making my paintings.
The Difference Between Rather Honest vs. Totally Honest
Being rather honest means that there is still some small part of me where I am not being honest about my daily practice. This last ten percent that I hold is probably tied to some deep and uncomfortable truth that I am hiding to protect myself. I am afraid to name it, much less address is it out loud.
Being totally honest about my fears seems foolish. But I need to be totally honest so I can unleash my fullest expression of who I am and who I want to be as an artist. I can leave nothing on the table.
In today's practice, I realized that I needed to switch to a vertical portrait format instead of a horizontal landscape format. There are specific parts of the original photo that I wanted to keep: the window, my table, my grandma... and the abstraction of the chickens.
One of the things that excites me about this image is the way the chicken bodies are so abstract - they are mostly triangle shapes with patterns and texture. My grandma loved to feed them each morning. I want to find a way to capture this happy moment and still keep the abstract elements in my painting.
As part of #20For20ArtChallenge2022, I am reading from The Power of Daily Practice: How Creative and Performing Artists (and Everyone Else) Can Finally Meet Their Goals by Eric Maisel, PhD. Part I of the book covers 20 Elements of Practice. In this blog post series 20For20, I write about one Element every day and reflect on how to incorporate the Element into my daily painting practice.