simple but not easy

A seasoned pro said this last fall in my hearing and it struck me: SO TRUE: “it’s simple, but it’s not easy”! This could be a mantra for continued practice in any discipline worth pursuing. The key things to know are basic, evident, clear from the ground up. They are simple. Jesus boiled all the law and the prophets down to just two ideas. Nodding our heads, we’re all pleased with ourselves until we actually try to do those two things. Artists, who usually don’t care much about rules, still know that to work well, one still has to respect a couple fences, like the basics of line and value. Stick with the simple things and then start moving out creatively! Easy Peasy. It’s getting to the finish that’s the tough part. We know what to do, we imagine so easily! But the sublime result takes a whole lot more effort than we romantics ever imagined!


Yesterday I worked for hours with an idea, trying to transfer it onto paper with my inks. I came home from the studio defeated. I may have not only wasted the paper, the inks and my energy, but then I was fighting the beast who tries to whisper to me that even my “foolish” ambition is a waste. It’s not easy going upstream. And so, I consider the basics again, chalk it up to “at least I tried” and “I learned something today that will feed the next one”… So, there’s nothing to show here today but some starts, and some working resolve.

How about for you? In whatever you do, does this ring true “simple but not easy”? And do you have some thoughts as to why?


One thought on “simple but not easy

  1. Mary Nees

    here’s a good bit: Peggy Noonan summarizing from Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules for Life, an Antidote to Chaos”:
    Know life’s limits, see and analyze your own, build on what you’ve got and can create.

    And be brave. Everything else is boring and won’t work.


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