Beginning a Painting

My search for articles about creativity, with specific reference to Richard Diebenkorn (American Abstract Expressionist and Figurative Artist) returned many references to his ’10 rules’ of creativity.  I had already encountered this list in reading John Elderfield’s essay Leaving Ocean Park,* wherein he quotes Diebenkorn’s “Notes to myself on beginning a painting”:

“1. attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion.

2. The pretty, initial position which falls short of completeness is not to be valued – except as a stimulus for further moves.

3. Do search. But in order to find other than what is searched for.

4. Use and respond to the initial fresh qualities but consider them absolutely expendable.

5. Dont ‘discover’ a subject – of any kind.

6. Somehow don’t be bored – but if you must, use it in action. Use its destructive potential.

7. Mistakes can’t be erased but they move you from your present position.

8. Keep thinking about Pollyanna.

9. Tolerate chaos.

10. Be careful only in a perverse way. ”

*    (in The Art of Richard Diebenkorn, by Jane Livingston. Whitney Museum of American Art 1997)

What could it hurt to try using these ‘rules’ in practice?

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