A friend of mine is a professional guitarist and a firm believer that you get what you pay for. When he buys a new guitar, it invariably costs upwards of £10,000.
The first thing he does when he gets his new instrument home, is to take a small pin hammer and chip the guitar’s paintwork.
£10,000. A hammer. WTF?!
His argument is that until that fateful first chip, that dreaded moment when he inevitably drops his beloved guitar, he will ‘pussy-foot’ around it, not really treating it like the tool that it is, not really giving it it’s full potential because he’s scared of damaging it.
This way, he gets all of that over and done with, and can move on.
I used to be quite precious about canvasses when I first started painting. The blank expanse was intimidating. What if you make a mistake? What if you ruin the canvas? What if it spontaneously combusts?!
A lot of this was my own insecurity about my ability, and whilst I still have that insecurity, I have learned to take a hammer to it and move on. Painting, and indeed many of the expressive arts, is about creating layers. Layers give interest. Layers provide depth. Layers are what makes a piece of art interesting.
Now that I’m working primarily on reclaimed wood, it’s even more important to embrace the defects, to work with the faults and create something beautiful. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it goes on the fire, but the important thing is to build layers, to tell (or in some cases read) the story, to work together with the defects and not be precious about it – just enjoy the process.
So, what are you taking a hammer to today?!