I just finished reading a horrible story in the paper. Apparently a Romanian woman’s son stole a number of works of art from a museum in Rotterdam, paintings and drawings by Matisse, Monet, Gauguin, Picasso, Lucian Freud and more. Convinced that if the paintings no longer existed, her son could not be prosecuted, the woman burned them all in the stove. Experts analyzed the ashes and concluded that her grim tale is almost certainly true. These masterpieces are lost to the world forever.
As I sat in the kitchen reading this sad story, my mind wandered off on a tangent. How many works of art have I destroyed? Not literally in my kitchen stove, but in the furnace of my mind. How many paintings have I not done? How many drawings have I aborted? How many pots have I not thrown? How many films have I not made? I thought of all the times I thought I should do some drawing and instead watched “Real Housewives”. I thought about that etching class I was thinking of taking last year and didn’t. Poof, all those would-be etchings went up in smoke. Or that three-week trip I took to Japan when I didn’t do a single sketch in my book. Or that Sketchbook Film we planned to do about a fashion illustrator but never got around to.
This isn’t the monkey talking, brutalizing me for my indolence. It’s just a fact. Every time I find a reason not to create, the art I might have made doesn’t exist. It may not have all been great art, worthy of Rotterdam, but it would have been another step on the path to better art, more fluid, more expressive, more fun.
What have you not made? And how can we fight the fire?