A demanding mistress

You work and you work and you work and you work and you work, and you are determined to wrestle this thing to the ground, making art… But your vision is not yet formed, your work does not yet bear that distinctive mark, your unique hand, your DNA… In your despair, you toss and you turn, crying yourself to sleep night after night after night, endlessly doubting, endlessly doubting your ability and sometimes feeling like a motherless child. I have been there — I know. Searching high and low for your own voice, for your own expressive utterance, you lead yourself down paths that dissipate… Confused and fuzzy, you begin to imagine that all the forces of the world are conspiring against you…

And yet, and still, the pursuit — that driving thing called art — hounds you, and you don’t know any rest. And, determined to make a way out of no way every day, you rise up and you hit it, own it, go into your studio… Art is a demanding mistress.

~ Carrie Mae Weems, 2016 School of Visual Arts Commencement Speech

Sources: Photo – Gund Gallery. Quote: Brainpickings


  1. I marvel at the ability of every artist to continue to create, oftentimes in the face of incredible odds. To sustain one’s drive and belief in self in spite of, because of..I am repeatedly awed.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. smiling….. that sounds like my 31 days of May. just no tears, thankfully 🙂
    excellent and welcomed post, David

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Finding one’s voice…the forever pursuit..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Truth!
    I would say I feel this agony in artists I’ve worked with.
    Authors I’ve traslated work for,
    And jewelry designers.
    It’s amazing though, tantalizing, the energy of an artist.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. and sometimes you just have to let yourself submit to your muse –

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree Beth. I do.

      Don’t think too much. There’ll be time to think later. Analysis won’t help. You’re chiseling now. You’re passing your hands over the wood. Now the page is no longer blank. There’s something there. It isn’t your business yet to know whether it’s going to be prize-worthy someday, or whether it will gather dust in a drawer. Now you’ve carved the tree. You’ve chiseled the marbled. You’ve begun.

      ~ Dani Shapiro, Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life

      Liked by 2 people

    • And, all self-induced!


  6. She can also be an expensive mistress! But as a moth to a flame I keep coming back for more.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Christie says:

    The lure, drive and passion to create…yes, self induced and some outpouring of creativity not shared among others…today I am thinking of how I would have expressed myself had I not learned to talk, so thankful for surgery that took me from a long term state of muteness…and how precious a vocal voice is, written voice, expression of voice through drawing, painting, etc ..so in the fore front this week…I will fill you in via email…

    Liked by 1 person

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