Destination or the journey?

Even though I sketch and paint quite often, it’s hard to see progress in every piece I produce. If progress was climbing a flight of stairs, I probably have my grandma’s arthritic knees. It does feel at times that I’m floundering about at the same place creatively. The hard part is to keep going and not relinquish to these soul sucking thoughts. The reward however is that they flee out the window the moment I make something I really like! The belief is reinstated.

But only temporarily. It leaves you too like receding daylight. Before you know, you’re pulling yourself up those metaphorical stairs again.

This below is not an ‘aha!’ painting, but I know I’m going to keep pounding, hammering, moulding, shaping whatever it is I’m creating on paper till I get there. It may take 10 paintings, maybe 20, maybe more to make something that gets the little hairs on my arms to stand up even once.

Seah Street

Seah Street in Singapore

But with both eyes on the destination, what becomes of my journey? An insipid, uninspiring wait for something to happen? The reason one is compelled to make art day after day is because creating something out of nothing is thrilling, inspiring, extremely fulfilling and a lot of fun. It is our impression of what we see and our expression of what we feel. Shouldn’t that be enough? Why guild the lily with expectations of ‘making progress each day’ or ‘reaching transcendence once in a while’ with your art? If anything, these should be byproduct of the journey.

This is what I’m telling myself today.



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