The authors David Bayles and Ted Orland introduction their book with a statement of what “good art” is — “a common and intimately human activity," not the geniuses arts of the world such as Mozart. Yet for some art makers, the difficulties they face limit their ability to freely express their creative energy. This book is dedicated to helping the reader find their own creative pathway. The authors begin with questions of how and why art gets made as most creative projects are often left unfinished. A person first has to master one’s fears about their creations as there will be work made that no one cares whether it is made or not, but the artist. Art today, they suggest, is working within the uncertainty, living with the doubt and contradictions within their audience. These fears must be addressed to find the means to nurture oneself as “talent” is hardly a dependable tool to advance one’s abilities. The authors go on to clear up the misconception about craft easily being taught, while art remains a gift. They reinforce this as a false belief passed along in fear of perseverance to the necessity of the hard work one has do to achieve mastery. To find the nourishment from artwork, one has to find the meaning from the artwork itself. Artwork involves skills that can be learned. The first of which is to accept self, following one's own voice, and making their voice distinctive. People have their own way of interpreting artwork. This is not the task for the artist. The authors address this point — for the artist is to learn how to make their work by making their work, and only they will care about it. It is through perseverance that an artist takes on an identity. One of the pervasive fears for an artist is that if one makes art that is considered flawed, then they are a flawed person. And even worse is if one makes no art, they are not a person. And for most everyone what matters is the product - the finished piece of artwork. But for the artist, what matters is the process - it is the experiences which shape the work. The authors offer a possible goal of completing artwork as it is to “teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars.” These are a few of the fears to be worked through and when done, seem to provide benefits to a person’s self-discovery to successful art making.
I encourage you to buy a copy of Art and Fear for a better understanding of your own creative process. Whether you're a master artist or beginning artist, this is an excellent book.