I was browsing through a Diebenkorn book yesterday and came across something interesting in one of the essays. It's a listing of his artistic intentions, written sometime between 1966 and 1976. I'm not really a Diebenkorn fan, except for a handful or so of the early figurative work, but I enjoyed reading his list, which I reproduce here.
"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. Don't "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 Polyanna.
9. Tolerate chaos.
10. Be careful only in a perverse way.
The one that I don't really get is No. 8, 'Keep thinking about Polyanna.' But I like No. 9, "Tolerate chaos," and also No. 7, "Mistakes can't be erased but they move you from your present position." And also, crucially, No. 1, "Attempt what is not certain."
Because what is less certain than painting, other than life?