Quote of the Day: The Obstacle in the Way

 

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” – Marcus Aurelius

Just how am I going to start on this one? Do you know, I’m not really sure – and that’ll do as a way in. It’s one of the pitfalls of the over-abstractified world we live in that people think – let alone people, we end up thinking – that we have to consciously think how we’re going to do something. And everything becomes plain hard work that way. And not the fun kind.

I’m teaching myself a few ins and outs of illustration – no, it’d be more accurate to say when I’m actually drawing anything I think worthwhile, I’m just enjoying myself. Otherwise, I tend to lose interest. That’s the obstacle and, after a fashion, it sorts of points me to the way.

Very often, when you can’t do something for some reason, that reason is the thing that may need to be gently (or not) thrown overboard – as more often than not it proves to be an artificial constraint imposed by overthinking what you’re trying to do. When something seems too complicated to be borne, maybe it isn’t all that complicated after all. Maybe that’s nature’s way of telling you it’s actually quite simple after all.

Just a thought. Now, where was that paintbrush? Ah, I have it, it was behind my ear – excuse me . . .

Published in Group Writing
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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Andrew Miller: Now where was that paintbrush? Ah, I have it, it was behind my ear – excuse me . . .

    Better than some places you could be putting it by gum by golly.

    • #1
  2. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    I am good at finding ways to criticize posts, and I have, in this case.

    Your post is very good–concise, original, thought-provoking, sometimes humorous.  It is a post that I like by a writer who doesn’t post very often.

    That’s what I don’t like about it.

    • #2
  3. Andrew Miller Member
    Andrew Miller
    @AndrewMiller

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Andrew Miller: Now where was that paintbrush? Ah, I have it, it was behind my ear – excuse me . . .

    Better than some places you could be putting it by gum by golly.

    Could be a brush with disaster . . . A chap could lose his shirt if he wasn’t careful. But I won’t take burnt umber-age at the possibility. See ’n’ then-a zinc white and— Yello? Who-chre could be calling at this hour . . . 

    • #3
  4. Andrew Miller Member
    Andrew Miller
    @AndrewMiller

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    I am good at finding ways to criticize posts, and I have, in this case.

    Your post is very good–concise, original, thought-provoking, sometimes humorous. It is a post that I like by a writer who doesn’t post very often.

    That’s what I don’t like about it.

    We shall have to remedy this, by crikey! Thank you kindly, sir.

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Water colors? Acrylics? Oils? I may still have some acrylics in the closet, although after so many years their survival is doubtful.

    • #5
  6. Andrew Miller Member
    Andrew Miller
    @AndrewMiller

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Water colors? Acrylics? Oils? I may still have some acrylics in the closet, although after so many years their survival is doubtful.

    Oils I would dearly like to mess around with some day, but I’m not well set up for them at present. Acrylics I have on hand to be messing about with more sooner (English good I speak). Watercolours and gouache (opaque watercolours for general information, if helpful) are more what I’ve been playing with lately. I do have some inks that I need to break out and give a road test to . . . 

    Schrodinger-brand acrylics? There’s a cat somewhere that wants to talk to you . . . 

    • #6
  7. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Andrew Miller (View Comment):
    Oils I would dearly like to mess around with some day, but I’m not well set up for them at present.

    My father worked primarily in oils. I did a few of them in my youth, also working in pastels. I think I still have one or two stored somewhere, as well as several of my father’s works. I don’t really have a good place to work on that sort of thing these days.

    • #7
  8. Andrew Miller Member
    Andrew Miller
    @AndrewMiller

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Andrew Miller (View Comment):
    Oils I would dearly like to mess around with some day, but I’m not well set up for them at present.

    My father worked primarily in oils. I did a few of them in my youth, also working in pastels. I think I still have one or two stored somewhere, as well as several of my father’s works. I don’t really have a good place to work on that sort of thing these days.

    Perhaps time to bring a few out and display them? And therein lies the difficulty, sadly. Ah, well, what stands in the way . . . Hey, what are you looking at me like that for?

    I’m really rather fond of Josh Kirby’s illustrations for the Pratchett book covers — which I understand were done mainly in oils, often using very thin layers. An example illustrative:

    (Link to image source.)

    • #8
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    I am good at finding ways to criticize posts, and I have, in this case.

    Your post is very good–concise, original, thought-provoking, sometimes humorous. It is a post that I like by a writer who doesn’t post very often.

    That’s what I don’t like about it.

    Yeah. That’s a thing that he does. Very annoying.

    • #9
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Andrew Miller: I’m teaching myself a few ins and outs of illustration – no, it’d be more accurate to say when I’m actually drawing anything I think worthwhile, I’m just enjoying myself. Otherwise I tend to lose interest. That’s the obstacle and, after a fashion, it sorts of points me to the way.

    The muse works that way. You have to start to wake her up. Pick a piece, start with that, and see what happens. It doesn’t have to be the main piece, but you’ll get there.

    • #10
  11. Andrew Miller Member
    Andrew Miller
    @AndrewMiller

    Percival (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    I am good at finding ways to criticize posts, and I have, in this case.

    Your post is very good–concise, original, thought-provoking, sometimes humorous. It is a post that I like by a writer who doesn’t post very often.

    That’s what I don’t like about it.

    Yeah. That’s a thing that he does. Very annoying.

    You fellows sure know how to pay a compliment. 

    • #11
  12. Andrew Miller Member
    Andrew Miller
    @AndrewMiller

    Percival (View Comment):

    Andrew Miller: I’m teaching myself a few ins and outs of illustration – no, it’d be more accurate to say when I’m actually drawing anything I think worthwhile, I’m just enjoying myself. Otherwise I tend to lose interest. That’s the obstacle and, after a fashion, it sorts of points me to the way.

    The muse works that way. You have to start to wake her up. Pick a piece, start with that, and see what happens. It doesn’t have to be the main piece, but you’ll get there.

    That’s roughly what I’ve been trying to do, hit and miss, haphazardly, but I shall now do so with redoubled enthusiasm on the back of such encouragement. Murki, sir knight. 

    • #12
  13. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    I’ve had several large dogs (Dalmatians, Old English Sheepdogs, Great Pyrenees) in my life whose primary purpose, it often seemed, was always to obstruct my forward progress by finding “the way” and then getting in it.  Learning to acknowledge their persistence with a pat on the head, and then simply to step past them and keep right on going, rather than stopping short, or tripping over them and ending up on the floor right with them, was a good life lesson.

    ***

    This is the Quote of the Day. Our sign-up sheet for May is here.  If you’re new at this game, it’s a easy way to get your feet wet and start a conversation; if you’re an old-timer, you already know the ropes.  Either way, please sign up to speak up.

    Another ongoing project to encourage new voices is our Group Writing Project. May’s theme is “May Day, Mayday, May Days.” If you’re looking to share your own thoughts rather than those of others, please sign up for Group Writing too!

     

    • #13
  14. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Andrew Miller (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Water colors? Acrylics? Oils? I may still have some acrylics in the closet, although after so many years their survival is doubtful.

    Oils I would dearly like to mess around with some day, but I’m not well set up for them at present. Acrylics I have on hand to be messing about with more sooner (English good I speak). Watercolours and gouache (opaque watercolours for general information, if helpful) are more what I’ve been playing with lately. I do have some inks that I need to break out and give a road test to . . .

    Schrodinger-brand acrylics? There’s a cat somewhere that wants to talk to you . . .

    Or is there?

    • #14
  15. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Andrew Miller: Just how am I going to start on this one? Do you know, I’m not really sure – and that’ll do as a way in. It’s one of the pitfalls of the over-abstractified world we live in that people think – let alone people, we end up thinking – that we have to consciously think how we’re going to do something. And everything becomes plain hard work that way. And not the fun kind.

    Sometimes lefters will challenge you, when you criticize their programs: “What’s your plan to solve the problem? How is Person X [insert brief tearjerker story] going to get food and housing?” 

    My answer is that I don’t have a plan, I don’t believe in solutions in politics, and I don’t know how Person X is going to survive, not least because I don’t know all the details of her situation so don’t know all the possibilities. Doesn’t mean I don’t care a lot about the problem. Doesn’t mean I want to ignore the problem. Doesn’t mean I think we shouldn’t do anything as individuals or as a larger society.  But I am skeptical of our ability to plan just how we’re going to work our way through it.

    • #15