Yesterday I was almost finished with a drawing that was coalescing into an almost perfect actualization of what I originally conceived when an ill-conceived, and poorly executed, sip of tea led to a spill. I was so angry at myself that I posted a status on Facebook expressing my disgust, complete with an image as proof. But, after I cooled off a bit I realized that the drawing itself was not destroyed. It was my attachment to the original vision and my apparent realization of it that was shattered. The drawing itself was fine, just not finished.
It was following the usual process of art making. You have an inspiration or vision and then have to grapple with the reality of translating that into something tangible. Along the way you make compromises or follow tangents and the final piece is at its closest an adaptation, but sometimes it is more like an evolutionary by-product of the vision. I think this is just how the creative process works. To appropriate a well-worn metaphor, your original inspiration is like a seed that you can’t quite identify. You have a general idea what kind of plant will grow, but you never really know until you see it.
PS- The image accompanying this post is the now complete version of the “ruined” drawing.