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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pushing Yourself

Am spending the long weekend at Balticon as we have done for several years. Just went to an interesting talk about pushing yourself as an artist. I don't draw or paint, but the artist's lessons are nevertheless relevant.

1. Try things you've never done before. Don't be afraid of pushing yourself. You might not want to try a new thing when you're being paid, because you don't want to mess it up, but you can do it for yourself. Doodle.

2. I asked what he would do it something does not feel right in the middle of a project. Would he abandon it halfway through and start anew? Or does he continue and finish it anyway. He said it depends on how much he's already done and how "wrong" it is. Usually he would go on and try to finish the project, because very often he could fix it in some way. Abandon only if it is early and it was clearing going in the wrong direction.

3. "People who don't use references are just arrogant." He always uses references, usually photographs of bodies in different poses, as he cannot afford to hire a model to pose for him. When an artist does not use any reference at all, the picture is clearly "off" in some way. One can always tell. Someone in the audience mentioned that another presenter showed 35 paintings (for comics and fantasy art), which all clearly referenced "Pieta." The lesson? One should reference but not copy.

*****

Coming upstairs in the elevator, the door was slow to close on an intermediate floor. I leaned over and pushed the "Door Close" button and the elevator responded immediately. A thin, short man with two-foot-long white beard said solemnly, "Sometimes they need a little nudge."

*****

Also went to a science talk by a marine biologist. He gave a fascinating talk about a detective story-like discovery made by him and colleagues, in which it took them decades to realize that 3 separate fishes were in fact one fish at various stages of development.

He also made a point that marine biologists can be colorful characters. I was reminded of Dave Bolus, my biology profession in college, on whom I had my first crush ...

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