How to play basketball


At some point during the workshop, someone must have asked me about how much I work at my art. It’s a common question, one I’ve come to understand from many points of view. My answer this time was that I’m very disciplined, I have a schedule: I get up early, do qi gong and tai chi and whatever meditation I am wanting that day, then I walk the dog, eat breakfast and am in my studio by 9 am. I usually work all morning. It’s my best time. Whenever I go into my studio, I work solidly, quickly, intensely. I don’t sit down much in there; I just paint. Whatever I do the rest of the day is flexible, sometimes around and about art, sometimes it’s all play. But I am always thinking about my work all the time, no matter where I am or what I am doing.

Jerry told the story about Danny Oore, the exceptionally brilliant young jazz musician. When Danny was a teenager, he went to basketball camp. There he saw how the boys who wanted to become professional players always had their ball with them, in their hand, dribbling, tossing. They could be in line for lunch with the ball under their arm.

That’s how you make art: it’s with you all the time. There’s no vacation; it’s you, and it’s bigger than you.