I am often asked about how professional artists are able to let go of their creations and if there is great difficulty in the act of releasing the products of one’s imagination. The work of the soul, so to speak.
My response, for me personally, is always a healthy and hearty, “heck no!” And, while I’m in no position to speak for all artists (it simply can’t be done), I know from those I speak with and read about that the prevailing tennent is that the work we do today is leading to the work we do tomorrow; that the latter is always built upon the former, whether there is an apparent visual connection or not.
If we are not to become stale, lazy, contributors to the great substandard, then each new work becomes a challenge to improve. Consequently, the greatest relationship an artist will have with any given piece of work is in the actual creating – beyond that there is not much more it has to offer. It is the path to the next, hopefully exciting, destination.
Most actors don’t watch their own movies over and again, I doubt if many writers read their books after they’ve been published (well, more than once), and, goodness gracious, what in the world would I do with all those paintings if I kept them! To relish in one success is the best recipe for avoiding having another.
I am currently working on a bully of a painting and when it is done – and it will be done – I know that it will have been a challenge well-answered. Then it must be sold. We’ll skip the obvious point that selling our work means affording to pursue the lives we have chosen (or that have chosen us), the real point is that hanging on to one accomplishment is the perfect way to block the next.
After all, the Artful Life is always a work in progress; it’s a dedication to honing one’s capabilities, improving techniques, and advancing applications. It is not for the faint of heart, it is not for those with no interest in sharpening their focus, strengthening their skills, or those who have no interest in presenting something wonderful to the world.
One other tiny point: the pure sense of joy received when someone connects to your work and desires to make it part of their life… it is a connection that forms between two souls, and that is priceless indeed.