3 Lessons from Pablo Picasso

Take four minutes and watch Pablo Picasso paint Visage: Head of a Faun.  Seriously, it is all I can do to write my own name and . . . well, just watch it for yourself.  Watching this, I realized three things:

  1. Don’t mistrust the fast draft. When you are young and you make art, you just do it.  Your efforts are sincere even if they aren’t lengthy yet somewhere along the line we come to believe that if the process isn’t long and drawn out, it isn’t worthwhile.  A friend took an essay writing class.  The instructor challenged them to fast draft a micro essay and then find someplace to submit it without editing.  You’re cringing, aren’t you?  Guess what?  It sold.  You can see “Rise,” by Ann Kelly here. I’m not saying that you should do this with everything you write, but somehow, some day, find a way to have faith in your work.
  2. What you see isn’t what the reader sees. I loved it when I realized that Picasso was painting something and the camera was filming it from the back of the page.  We are seeing the reverse of what Picasso saw.  And it works.  Your reader is never going to see things exactly the same way that you do.  And that’s okay.
  3. The steps may not show in the end result.  In painting this, Picasso lays down flowers, a chicken and then a faun’s head, one over the other.  In the end, you see hints of what came before but the only thing that is clear is the faun’s head.  When your readers see the end result, they aren’t going to be able to see exactly what went before.  So if there’s a really horrid stage in the middle?  Don’t sweat it.

This clip is part of a documentary on Picasso, ‘Le Mystère Picasso.”