“Doer of Deeds” 24×20, oil on canvas Buy Now
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” –Theodore Roosevelt
I’m still reading Art and Fear, but I hit upon the section that feels a little outdated. Art is no longer relegated to academia and galleries. Artists need an iphone more than they do a brick and mortar gallery. It’s been well over a decade since I was in art school, and I have trouble remembering it at all.
But as I’m coming to the end of the short book, I’m savoring the lessons still packed within some of the less relevant chapters. The authors remind me of the thing I’ve said since I first started this whole painting thing in 2014– to an artist, art is a verb. Contrast that to the critic, who they say think of it as a noun– something strange and foreign, something “to be pointed to and poked at from a safe analytical distance.”
It all reminds me so much of the Theodore Roosevelt quote about the critic and the “doer of deeds” that I turn to time and time again.
As this 31 days comes so close to its end, I’m thinking about what it means for me and why I’ve kept going back to it time and time again–because when art is a verb it becomes real and viable, painfully human and still a little inspired.
Today’s painting is another one I’ve created on top of an older abstract. I used the cold wax again which builds this heavy texture and eliminates a lot of the shine from the paint. This particular peacock, mid step, I like to think of as a “doer,” on a journey, perhaps to defeat, but moving all the same.
To those that have taken on 31 days of doing with me– we’re almost there. Thank you for entering the arena. For showing up to something meaningful to you. In Art and Fear, Bayles and Orland assert that what we learn from each other is not so much technique but “courage-by-association.” I’ll end today’s post with another quote from them: “Depth of contact grows as fears are shared– and thereby disarmed– and this comes from embracing art as process, and artists as kindred spirits.” To all my kindred spirits, I’m so glad to have you on this journey.