Brian Oberkirch over at the 43 Folders blog has a great post about Chuck Close and the process of making art. He nails something that I often find myself explaining to people who are are unfamiliar with the creative process: it's not about insipration; it's work. (Someone else phrased that better: one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.) Close devised a working process to circumvent his personal limitations (some of which sound a lot like mine). In an interview with Fresh Air's Terry Gross, Close says,
I’m a nervous wreck. I’m a slob. I have no patience. And I’m rather lazy. All those things would seem to guarantee that I would not make work like I make. But I didn’t want to just go with my nature.
In addition to its visual qualities, the grid format allows Close to easily delineate his daily workload. The result is a streamlined working process:
There are no good days or bad days. Every day essentially builds positively on what I did the day before.
My biggest mental block is the giant question of "What do I do?" I don't have trouble completing tasks, I have trouble deciding which task to complete. One thing that helps is before leaving the studio at night, I set the next day's work out on the table, sometimes with a to-do checklist. When I know what direction I'm headed in, starting down the path is easy.