Diebenkorn Rules

I spent the afternoon at the de Young Museum, totally enthralled by the Diebenkorn exhibit. He has always been a favorite of mine, and when I walked in and was surrounded by his work I felt a total rush and I think I even cried a little. It was so exciting to see his artwork up close as well as from a distance—so very inspiring and a must see!

I was also really struck by his notes to himself on beginning a painting:

  1. Attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion.
  2. The pretty, initial position, which falls short of completeness, is not to be valued—except as a stimulus for further moves. 
  3. Do search. But in order to find other that what is searched for. 
  4. Use and respond to the initial fresh qualities, but consider them absolutely expendable. 
  5. Don't "discover" a subject—of any kind. 
  6. Somehow don't be bored—but if you must, use it in action. Use its destructive potential. 
  7. Mistakes can't be erased, but they move you from your present position. 
  8. Keep thinking about Pollyanna. 
  9. Tolerate chaos.
  10. Be careful only in a perverse way. 

—Richard Diebenkorn

 

Untitled (Yellow Collage) 1966   Richard Diebenkorn

Untitled (Yellow Collage) 1966   Richard Diebenkorn

  Cityscape #1, 1963  Richard Diebenkorn

 

Cityscape #1, 1963  Richard Diebenkorn