Happy New Year 2013!

I am thinking about beginnings – beginning this new year and beginning new projects.J. PaschkisSummer Birds p24-25

Starting anything is exciting but scary. I have to overcome rational and irrational fear to begin. Mainly I am afraid that a new idea is stupid and not worth pursuing. I have to ignore that fear until the idea is big enough to stand up for itself.Julie Paschkis, Root 2004

I am used to riding out the doubt when I am painting.

Julie Paschkis, brown deer












But writing is less habitual and my foundations are shakier.

Julie Paschkis, Illustration from Twist












I have been beginning to learn Spanish for several years now.   My Spanish is halting but improving slowly. I love learning the words and grammar. This fall I have been writing poems in Spanish and English. I work on the poems in Spanish first. My lack of fluency somehow frees me from my fear of starting a poem. I wander around the words, look at them as strange and wondrous objects and pluck them for my poems. I am distracted from the amorphous fear of creating something from scratch.

Julie Paschkis, Inko












After I have written a poem in Spanish I work on the same poem in English. I go back and forth until both versions work. My final step is to have true Spanish speakers look at the poems and point out the egregious errors: thank you Fernando and Julie Larios, and Marta Seymour.

Punctuation, 19th century engraving

New ideas are skittish. They want to run away, like deer. Here is a sample of one of my bilingual efforts, illustrated with words and image.

Julie Paschkis, Venado

What do you do to keep your ideas from running away?

13 responses to “Beginnings

  1. These poems are engaging (both the Spanish and the English) and of course the painting is stunning. I’m eager to see many more!

  2. Julie, this is wonderful. Every project of mine begins this way. I’m glad I’m in such good company!

  3. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this, Julie.

  4. “Mainly I am afraid that a new idea is stupid and not worth pursuing. I have to ignore that fear until the idea is big enough to stand up for itself.”

    Nice. Thank you, Julie.


  5. Oh I love this post, all of these illustrations a really beautiful. It is also encouraging to hear that other artists feel that anxiety when working. It takes me daily practice to push through and try new ideas without letting the doubt squash them. I often worry about the investment of time, and remind myself that nothing is wasted, every piece we do pushes us forward.

  6. So, for you, do you start with a painting that describes what you want to say in words and then add the words as poems? Because your paintings say 1,000 words already. If you put the pen to paper afterwards, perhaps the words are your “flourishes.” :o)

    • The poem came first in the deer illustration, and then within the illustration the images came before the words. I hope that answers your question!
      Thanks for your comment (and thanks to everyone else for commenting too).

  7. The blue woman with parasol slinking up out of the inkpot fascinates me. And the poem is damn good Spanish–full of music (to which, of course, Spanish lends itself better than English does.)

  8. Julie,
    You make it seem as though the ideas flow right out of your fingertips with fluidity and grace. “No forcing, no forcing, it’s fatal”…. in the words of Samuel Beckett.
    No forcing, it would seem, for you.

  9. so wonderful
    and reassuring to hear you also go through doubt

  10. Love this!!!!

  11. Fabulous!

  12. I’m happy to see you incorporating words into your pictures as you did with Neruda. Lovely poem, both the English and the Spanish sound lyrical.

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