Artistry in Action 2017- Summary, Homework & Notes- Class #4- 4/12/17

Hello all,

I enjoyed the class discussion yesterday.  I’m always pleased to hear from many different voices, and almost everybody spoke up in class today.   Once again I didn’t get  through some of the things I had hoped to cover.  But I’m very pleased with the discussions we had and I’ve tried to expand the notes on this blog post to introduce some of the next things we will talka bout.


  • Maeve turned us on to this interesting video on the sound of tree rings (if they were played by a piano)

  • Hector asked the question “What is curating?”  which led to an interesting discussion about hwo artists make things happen.  See the board photo below for my notes on what we came up with.  I mentioned that a lot of curating is done by artists who are looking for opportunities that may not currently exist for themselves and their friends to present their work.  Curating is an important component of the artistic process.  SOMEBODY has to do it.  It could be you.


  • Leslie informed the class about some internship opportunities from RACC.  I’ll include the link in a blog post when I get it from her.


  • We talked about the mentorship assignment and made a list on the board of things you might look for in a mentor, challenges to engaging a mentor, and some solutions to those challenges. (See board photo below)


  • I went through the hand out on the difference between specialty goods and commodities. I think that was a very important discussion for people and something we as artists who want to make a business out of our art need to consider.


  • We read an excerpt from The War of Art called “What I Do” and had a pairs discussion about “what your day looks like as an artist.” I did some talking about the stages of the process of artistic creation, and the importance of noticing where the resistance can kick in at each stage.  For me the four stages are:

– Generating- this is the time that I focus on generating the work. It is important not to be critical at this stage.  This stage will be the focus of your artistic practice once you leave school.

-Organizing- for me this stage is about seeing what I have, pulling the threads together and consolidating the work I’ve generated to move toward making a completed piece of work.

-Editing- this stage is a relief for me because it involves taking things out and moving them around.  I can see the work start to take shape. This stage can go on forever unless I give myself a deadline.

-Polishing -This is the often neglected stage about working on the small details that bring the work to it’s best point.  Lot’s of resistance here because the fear of disappointment comes up.  Also the euphoria of creation has worn off and I no longer feel I’ve made some world-changing piece of work.  I have to work hard at this stage to remember that the work deserves my best effort.  This is the place where most work gets scrapped, unfortunately because of the fear of other people’s judgement.

Here is a funny illustration that perfectly describes this arc for me.

The Life of A Project- from “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon

HOMEWORK  (Be sure to refer to Master homework list for the homework that is due next class, including:

Mindset followup assignments

Evaluating your Skills Assignment

Prepare your Elevator Speech


1. Read these two blog posts at the link below.(if you haven’t already)

2. “Define Your Work Environment” Assignment
Assignment:  Take an hour to reflect on your work environment for your art as related to “The War of Art”  Say you were going to sit down as Pressfield describes in “War of Art” and do your work, do you have what you need? What is that space? What is in it? What kind of light? What talismans for success?  Make a list of what works and what you would like to change and read it to us.

3. Another question that I’d like you to reflect on this week is Can I create work that initiates dialogue and healing?   I’ve attached two PDF’s that speak to this question.  Neither is very long. Read them in preparation for class on Monday, April 17

The first is a speech from PSU Architecture Professor Clive Knight about the mission of Architecture as he sees it.


The second is an address from pianist and Director of the Boston Conservatory of Music Karl Paulnack about the power of Music

Karl Paulnack Welcome Address



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