Beginning Again

All you have to do is show up.

— Constantine Brancusi

My worst enemy is indolence.

You could call it my favorite hobby.

Writer Ernest Hemingway famously beat indolence by leaving his last sentence unfinished every night.

Sculptor Constantine Brancusi beat it by arriving early at his studio in the mornings and picking up a broom to sweep.

“All you have to do is get to your studio and put a broom in your hand,” he said. “Just by the act of sweeping and cleaning you will start working.”

Brancusi was a neatnik, no doubt; he once commanded millionaire David Rockefeller to sweep the studio floor.

I’m a bit obsessed by neatness, too.

I try to keep my studio clean and presentable, not for others’ sake, but my own.

But the act of tidying up doesn’t goad me to paint.

For that, I have to open seven or eight tubes and squeeze out paint; in other words, I have to start making a mess.

Whatever works, I guess.

Above: Fool’s House by Jasper Johns. Oil on canvas with broom, towel, stretcher and cup. 72 x 36 inches. Partial view.