Whitaker begins the chapter with the story of Ed Epping’s accidental beginning of his art career. When enrolling for college, he signed up for two art classes. As her art instructor, she would begin the classes with discussions about judgments one makes about their work. When labeled with good or bad, one begins the process of letting go of their responsibility to their work. Epping’s method is to be “critically self-aware,” to see what is working and what is not rather judging it good or bad, to build on the strengths, and to seek help when needed. In this chapter, “to be in the fray,” Whitaker shares the work of psychiatrist and pediatrician, Donald Wood Winnicott’s “good enough” parenting. Here she equates this an artist. To use this method of doing one’s best at what they are learning, and continuing to build an environment to nurture one’s growth. She defines nurturing one’s environment as to hold one has the freedom to do their work, not keeping up the appearances. She shares the tool of Conversational with the three roles: guide, colleague-friend, and producer. Each of these offer the wisdom with honesty and encouragement, as well as the economy/business side of an art career to meet the demands of one’s market. A guide helps one discover the hows to do, rather than the rigid musts (micromanaging) one might believe they have to within their work. In the second role, to be open to others influencing your own work. Finding others to support one in their own work, those who are may have different strengths and weaknesses, yet are able to have shared values about one’s work. In the practical world of the creative process, finding those who help one stay on task of building one’s portfolio, showing and finding methods of sharing one’s work. All of which costs money and time. The author suggests if one has difficulty with finding supplies, use what is available, such as paper coffee cups, or other recycled materials that are in abundance. In a business, noticing what is a resource and using what one has, begins a business model structured on cost. There are other costs to also consider, such as transition and opportunity. These two are opposites of each other, such as if transition were imperfection, then opportunity would be imagination. One’s success is built upon the tools one uses for their business side of their creative career. Finding the support, no matter whether emotional or financial, stay the course of doing you own work.
I encourage you to buy a copy of Art Thinking for a better understanding of your own creative process. Whether you're a master artist or beginning artist, this is an excellent book.