I remember being an undergrad, taking Intermediate or Advanced Drawing, and Charles Eldred used to write these notes to us, and put them in our portfolios at midterm and at the end of the semester. They were always written on a small piece of paper, but he would begin writing about an idea, and often he would overflow onto the back of the page, then write along the outside edge in the margins, etc. I have saved a few of them, and there is one that I have referred back to many times over the years, because I have still not learned the lesson:
“You must begin to relax your insistence...", it reads. "Stop trying to achieve everything in your drawing through sheer willpower.” He did a little drawing of a pipe in the margins, and wrote “Ceci n’est pas un pipe.” next to it, for emphasis.
Over the years, I have tried to “relax my insistance”. Mostly, I have failed miserably… I have learned to accept the fact that obsessiveness is my modus operandi. But I was thinking of Eldred’s words today, while I was attempting to gesso a dirty carpet.
Certainly, I have seen many paintings on textured surfaces with rough edges, but I have a vision in my brain of a pristine surface in contrast to the dirty carpet… so today, it is me against the rug, for however long it might take to force my will upon it.