Testosterone in the studio

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Dear Artist,

A remarkable study, Endogenous Steroids and Financial Risk-Taking on a London Trading Floor, has implications for folks in other professions, including ours. According to the study, stock traders build testosterone on days when they are successful. Apparently, the additional hormones can cause higher levels of confidence and risk-taking, while too much of it can include feelings of omnipotence and even carelessness. Conversely, a trader who has experienced successive losses will have higher levels of the downer cortisol, leading to risk aversion and sloppy choices.

“Traders apparently don’t know they are being manipulated by their hormone fluctuations,” says John Coates, co-author of the study. The uppers, he finds, tend to happen in market bubbles, while cortisol prevails during downturns. Managers are advised to whip erratic traders off the floor and devise various means to soothe them. The study says little about the hormones of lady traders, presumably because there are not many of them, but it does recommend hiring women as they are less likely to fluctuate.

Very interesting. I always wondered why, on the odd times when I do something rather good, I’m immediately hyped up and do yet another. Hormones, eh? Sometimes I get into a veritable orgy of good art and become some sort of painting athlete.

On the other hand, when I do lousy work, my confidence suffers and my prowess wilts. The work gets worse and worse. I leave the studio in shame.

Questions arise: Would it be best to always maintain a positive but modest balance of testosterone by doing neither too good nor too bad? Or should one take advantage of the bonanzas and jump on them when they occur? How does one avoid getting cortisol in the artistic veins? Does clothing affect things either way?

We are all familiar with those wonderful days of hot marathons where quality seems to stay high. The idea of “winning streak,” like “scoring,” pervades most cultures. Good breeds good. Perhaps this is one of the reasons we feel the need to be particularly careful with the first of a series — to make sure standards are high at the beginning. Even higher levels may follow as the testosterone kicks in.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: “We found that a trader’s morning testosterone level predicts his day’s profitability. We also found that a trader’s cortisol rises with both the variance of his trading results and the volatility of the market. Our study suggested that higher testosterone may contribute to economic return. Further, testosterone and cortisol are known to have cognitive and behavioral effects, so if the acutely elevated steroids we observed were to persist or increase as volatility rises, they may shift risk preferences and even affect a trader’s ability to engage in rational choice.” (John Coates)

Esoterica: Are there positive creative juices that run through our bodies? Or is it, as Emerson suggested, simply a matter of building self-trust? Pablo Picasso, no stranger to the concepts of marathon and libido-driven confidence, thought creative success was based on the simple surrender to the ultimate seduction of work itself.

 

Downers fuel growth
by George R Robertson, Mississauga, ON, Canada

 

original painting by George R Robertson

original painting
by George R Robertson

Why would you want to limit cortisol and elevate testosterone? Can you imagine the glut on world markets if testosterone-driven artists produced only masterpieces? We would be replicating Henry Ford’s production line. I am the sum total of my successes and my failures — change the balance and I am no longer an artist, but a producer of product. The significant point, IMHO, is that I do not grow from my testosterone successes, but from my cortisol downers. Nature gave me a certain level of natural ability and a cocktail of hormones — it’s up to me to cultivate the former and sip cautiously of the latter.

 

 



There is 1 comment for Downers fuel growth by George R Robertson

From: Catherine Robertson — Sep 19, 2008

George, I agree emphatically ! – “Nature gave me …..sip cautiously of the latter” ! Wise, true and works for me ! Must be the “Robertson” clan !

Catherine

 

Sexist remarks
by Phyllis McCraw, West Milford, NJ, USA

 

original wooden bowls by Phyllis McCraw

original wooden bowls
by Phyllis McCraw

I was insulted and of course entirely left out of this discussion. As a female, I have good and bad days. I do not attribute it to my sexual qualities.



There is 1 comment for Sexist remarks by Phyllis McCraw

From: John — Sep 18, 2008

Excellent! Way to miss the point.

 

Down time for equilibrium
by Lois Jung, Hutchinson, KS, USA

 

His Light Studio Exhibition original painting by Lois Jung

“His Light Studio Exhibition”
original painting by Lois Jung

One cannot live on testosterone only. One always needs a down time to sanely collect the rest of life around oneself, to get some equilibrium in all of life. Not easy. But over my more than a few years I have observed the testosterone driven ones — they don’t last. Our bodies crash. Just enjoy the down time for even something different, and maybe, just maybe, out of it comes the inspiration for the next hot period. Our testosterone-driven age must get down time, just to remain productive.



There is 1 comment for Down time for equilibrium by Lois Jung

From: Suchin Rai — Sep 20, 2008

Beautiful painting

 

Project Triumph 750
by Tom Mellor, Vancouver, BC, Canada

 

Triumph 750 by Tom Mellor

Triumph 750

I read your article on testosterone with interest and agree it does help you go on to better things. I find I need to be focused and pay attention to the detail at the start of a project and everything seems to fall into place. The old Triumph 750 did 182.450MPH!! I am still wound up and starting to build next year’s bike 200MPH?

 

 

Quantity creates momentum
by Andrew Bray, Toronto, ON, Canada

 

I have certainly experienced this same phenomenon. I say jump on those hot streaks, which feel like they are there to stay but which never last. If you are cold, lower your expectations, take the pressure off. For me the thing to watch is quantity. Quantity gives the creative process momentum so that you aren’t even aware that there is a process. When you are cold, the only way to keep the quantity up is to stop trying to create a masterpiece. Have fun, play, don’t worry, just keep working and keep things fluid. Soon a great idea will appear and heat things up again.

 

Ride the waves
by Eleanor Blair, Gainesville, FL, USA

 

Lake Window oil painting on canvas 36 x 48 inches by Eleanor Blair

“Lake Window”
oil on canvas 36 x 48 inches
by Eleanor Blair

When people visit my studio, they are often struck by the range of size, subject matter, and brushwork. I say, most artists wait to be “in the mood,” and I paint according to the mood I’m in. So there are days when all I can manage to do is sit under a dim lamp painting miniatures from photographs I took years ago. There are days when I seem to be brain dead, but full of body energy, and that’s how the large gestural pieces happen. And lately, having some serious laurels to rest on, I’ve given myself permission to really sink my artistic teeth into very challenging work. Might be hormones. Or a healthy balance in the check book. Maybe energy rises and falls for unknowable reasons, and all we artists need to do is ride the waves.

 

Fully engaged
by Linda Saccoccio, Santa Barbara, CA, USA

 

French Kiss ;oil painting on paper 34 x 47 inches by Linda Saccoccio

“French Kiss”
oil on paper 34 x 47 inches
by Linda Saccoccio

You have to have “self-trust” to fully engage. As I see it there is a certain equanimity to being in a high state, a state where doubt is dust and courage is only the natural inclination to soar. This equanimity can be cultivated and sustained through steady practice. Steady practices offer perceptual clarity and an open line to creative connectivity. They can also divert a challenging mood into a good laugh through awareness of the temporal nature of each moment and shift the glum to a lighter state. Perhaps altering from the dominance of cortisol to the flow of testosterone. As a woman I am sure we have our own hormones that do the same thing and offer similar challenges and rewards to work with. I am not a stranger to the emotions of success and failure. They are the two sides of one coin. So keep flipping!

 

Excitement feeds persistence
by Kittie Beletic, Dallas, TX, USA

 

Dreamweaving among the stars watercolor on paper by Kittie Beletic

“Dreamweaving among the stars”
watercolor on paper
by Kittie Beletic

>The reasons for the flow of human adrenalin are surely as varied as we are! But to get straight to the point, it is the excitement of the work when it comes together that feeds persistence and leads us to the next canvas. Nothing is as exciting as success… whether it is selling a work or being positively reviewed or experiencing the flow of an idea. I don’t believe there is one reason alone, but a combination that is individual to each of us. Surely, little successes build trust in our abilities. Absolutely, being recognized for our work gets the heart pumping. Best of all are the times when we are open to our own flowing genius as we create. It is personal, cannot be shared and yet, you know exactly what I mean which is the miracle … and why we keep doing what we do!

“…when the dreamweaver sees it is time to be through, she whispers a dream known only to you …” from What Color is Your Dream? by Kittie Nesius Beletic

 

Abbreviated downer time
by Cheryl Lobenberg, Sacramento, CA, USA

acrylic painting by Cheryl Lobenberg

acrylic painting
by Cheryl Lobenberg

You better believe it! When I’m on, I’m on a definite high and bangin’ on all four cylinders. There are times, however, when a painting heads south and morphs into a steaming pile of sh–t. Fortunately, when I am doing my painting in acrylic, I can put it aside, and come back at another time after I’ve marshaled up my testosterone level and turned that pile into pure creative gold! I do a lot of commissioned and commercial illustration art, so my “downer” time must be abbreviated to meet deadlines. Through the many years of my profession, I have learned to abbreviate downer time and produce a steady stream of art. Guess what? I keep up a steady pace of work and growth. Now that’s a testosterone boost for sure!

 

Surrender to the process
by Jack Dickerson, Brewster, MA, USA

 

Rowboat at world's end oil painting 30 x 36 inches by Jack Dickerson

“Rowboat at world’s end”
oil painting 30 x 36 inches
by Jack Dickerson

Theoretically the testosterone gestalt should work really well. However, I have found that there are times when something altogether different happens. Occasionally when I am feeling so crappy and discouraged, I can hardly start a painting. One thing or another has overwhelmed my brain’s hard drive. So I literally force myself into the studio, and force myself to start a new canvas. I am all the time thinking it will be a waste or a throw away, but, I think, better that than nothing at all — at least I might learn some small thing. To my utter surprise, when I am feeling absolutely strung out… somehow a terrific piece seems to be born. It is fascinating that all kinds of moods can result in really good works… not just during the highs or “on a roll” moods. Surrender to the process. And it will envelop you.

 

Both trader and artist
by Lisa Chakrabarti, Los Angeles, CA, USA

 

Hanging On Chinese ink/watercolor painting on Xuan paper by Lisa Chakrabarti

“Hanging On”
chinese ink/watercolor
painting on Xuan paper
by Lisa Chakrabarti

As a former foreign currency trader for a major international bank (one that still exists, BTW) for 9 years after being eventually ‘downsized’ and, as a result, changing my career to fine artist in 1988, I have a foot on both sides of the fence here.

Testosterone might indeed play a part and, as you and your readers no doubt already know, women produce testosterone too, just in smaller doses. I’ve experienced those wild highs of successful trades – and successful strings of paintings, and the subsequent (and probably necessary) spells of turning out pure crap (and/or losing money on bad trades). Fortunately, the ratio has managed to favor the former. We used to say if a trader made money 51% of the time, that was OK. As a Chinese brush and ink painter, where the first brush stroke is the final one with no touch-ups, I frequently throw out 10 paintings and keep 1 or 2.

But I believe there is something else at work here: discipline. I was a very successful FX trader while my predecessors failed. Everyone thought I was a ‘wunderkind,’ but I can only say I was (1) lucky (2) disciplined. There is also an intuitive part that affects both trading and art, a unique link that (at least for me) explained why I managed to do reasonably well in two apparently disparate fields.

Subcategories of discipline could be passion and dedication — all requisites for success in any field. Turning out work that is ‘not too good and not too bad’ is, by extension, unremarkable, mediocre. While those pieces are inevitable too, they are the ones I tend to shove into a portfolio and eventually get chopped up into “one of a kind greeting cards” or pieces I study to try to figure out what I might have done differently to make them special.

 

Clothing affects work
by Jeffrey Hessing, Nice, France

 

Rolling Hills oil painting 64 x 51 inches by Jeffrey Hessing

“Rolling Hills”
oil painting 64 x 51 inches
by Jeffrey Hessing

You ask, “Does clothing affect things either way?” Years ago someone gave me an old Yves Saint Lauren sweater. When I realised it was finally too old to wear in public I started to paint in it. The quality was still there and subliminally made me feel like a winner. The irony of getting paint on expensive clothes somehow corresponds to my sense of contrast and odd juxtapositions in my work. I continued to get designer hand-me-downs and enjoy painting in style.

 

 

Solitude and meditation
by Marney Ward, Victoria, BC, Canada

 

Golden Poppies watercolor painting by Marney Ward

“Golden Poppies”
watercolor painting
by Marney Ward

I have a theory on why solitude often becomes unbearable after 2-3 days, and it’s based on what I learned 38 years ago when I became a teacher of transcendental meditation, or TM. TM produces a state of deep rest in the mind and body and that allows deep-rooted stresses in the physiology to be dissolved. As they dissolve, the activity produced by this process can create a mental restlessness that parallels the activity of the body, which can come in form of thoughts or feelings. This inward and outward process of meditation is similar to the process of sleep, where deep sleep comes first and provides the deep rest, then is followed by a more active dream state which involves different brain waves, rapid eye-movements and sometimes physical movements of the body. This restlessness is a normal part of the process of healing that takes place during a night’s sleep.

When we suddenly change our environment to a very calm, unpolluted, silent one without the usual “noise” and distractions of phones, televisions, computers and the constant demands of other people and work, it’s like plunging ourselves into a meditative state, the nervous system gets a prolonged rest and then it starts to release built-up stresses in the system. The consequent irritability that often results is just a sign that the body is taking advantage of the deep rest and the reduction in sensory stimulus to purify itself, but until one adjusts to the change, it can be quite disconcerting. If we persevere, usually after a few days we settle into the quieter lifestyle and begin to really enjoy it. If we leave, when we return home we may realize after the fact that we feel better for the quiet spell, and often a return visit is more satisfying because one makes allowances for an initial period of adjustment. Working through the restlessness helps, because it gives a focus to the restless energy, and prepares us for another spell of restfulness. If we are lucky we can attain a state of restful alertness, where the body is completely relaxed and the mind is fully awake in a state of blissful super-awareness. This is a state many artists describe when they are fully engaged in their art yet painting effortlessly and almost as if someone else is painting through them. Solitude, like meditation, can be a step towards attaining that state of effortless creativity.

 

Artists living on hope
by Carole Pigott, Santa Fe, NM, USA

 

Plum Colored Sky oil painting 24 x 30 inches by Carole Pigott

“Plum Colored Sky”
oil painting 24 x 30 inches
by Carole Pigott

You are wonderful, a voice crying out in the night. I am presently working on a series in an area that has no real understanding of the creative side of creating, only the promotional and ego-driven side. I have been using your quotes to defend my ideas against a wall of misunderstandings. I pass these on to the younger artists who are looking for any hope that there is a way other than what they are mired in. Since most artists live on hope, your letters feed them. Thank you for taking your stands, thank you for clear, creative, and professional advice that blends both right and left brains.

 

 

World of Art Featured artist Richard Pranke, Montreal, QC, Canada  

'Richard Pranke at work by Richard Pranke, Montreal, QC, Canada

Richard Pranke at work

Richard Pranke, Montreal, QC, Canada

 

You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes Pixie Glore of Andalucia, Spain who wrote, “I would rather have the extreme highs along with the great work, while it lasts, rather than the steady and mundane. I’ll survive the lows with work ethic hormone. I’m sure wearing purple and pink helps.”

And also Sylvia Boulware who wrote, “I always thought that painting was mostly a function of the BRAIN….. not hormones. Personally, when I’m excited about what my brushstrokes are doing, I feel uplifted and when I don’t, and feel stuck. I put my brushes down and go for a walk or get away to the gym for a workout-cure! That works for me most of the time.”

And also Ron Grauer of Ben Lomond, CA, USA who wrote, “I’ve been getting testosterone shots now for over 2 years — my wife gives me one every ten days. I’m gonna be 81 in November and, other than getting a little winded sooner than I used to, everything else is working pretty good. My work is gettin’ better all the time – me, my wife and my galleries’ opinions. Incidentally, I had a bone marrow transplant 12 years ago for leukemia and I understand that gives your longevity a lift…”

And also Frances Stilwell of Corvallis OR, USA who wrote, “Well, my goodness. And they say women are so moody.”

And also Warren Criswell who wrote, “Picasso said, ‘I paint with my penis.’ Where does our aesthetic sense come from, ultimately, if not from our hormones? Whatever the subject of our art, isn’t it born of desire? Without desire there can be neither art nor love nor life.”
 

 

Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for Testosterone in the studio

 

 

From: Bob — Sep 15, 2008

I believe there’s no doubt that positive creative juices run through our bodies. Their first objective is to procreate. But they can be redirected to other forms of creativity. This is known as the transmutation of sexual energy. When used to paint, to dance, to speak or whatever activity stimulates us, we will likely do it to the best of our ability. It’s said that Hitler, at the height of his best oratory, experienced orgasm. If we wish, we can direct the juices to assist us in whatever endeavour we choose.

From: Jean Burman — Sep 15, 2008

I suspect this study to be an overly simplistic heap of male-gender-manufactured codswallop. Sorry Robert! :-)

Facts are… there are many adrenal hormones all playing in concert in the healthy human body of both sexes. To single out one or two and then attempt to tag them to a specific set of (male dominated) behaviours is absurd.

Cortisol rises in response to stress in both men and women. It serves as the body’s primary anti-inflammatory agent in it’s attempt to keep a lid on it. Conversely prolonged stress can lead to adrenal exhaustion and very low levels of cortisol being produced.

Melatonin is not mentioned and yet it is essential to the cyclical process of sleep… kicking in on dark to accomplish the tasks of rest repair and regenerate.

Cortisol and DHEA take over when the sun rises… producing appetite and supplying energy to get on with the day. All humans have difficulty balancing the hormones that control day/night chemistries as we age. Older people often report they need less sleep but this is not the case. Lack of melatonin production is the primary cause.

The health and efficiency of the endocrine system is a complex science influenced by many factors including age, gender, diet, exercise, toxic load the list goes on.

Certainly imbalances affect our ability to perform on a number of levels… both physical and emotional… but attempting to pin a behaviour on a single hormonal cause is at best not helpful… and at worst… like I said… absurd.

Jean

From: Faith — Sep 15, 2008

So are you talking about all of us, or just the “stronger” sex (no guesses as to who thinks that could be)? How about regular intake of oestrogens by males to counterbalance this apparently almost uncontrollable overflow of male hormones? (Then the drop to normality would not be so far) Women in their most creative phase often curb their PROcreative tendencies by regular intakes of female hormones, but there are no records of women not being able to paint, carve, write etc during these phases. And does the stock exchange make a good role model for the artist? Is my every brush stroke a gamble?

All our bodily functions – whether creative or not – are governed by chemical changes and reactions. But we knew that already, didn’t we? We mere females often go through phases of depression and elation, for good reasons, usually even more basic than the urge to gamble and the thirst for economic triumpf. And what about the male mid-life crisis? Is that only an illusion?

But never mind. I’m sure lots will be comforted to read that they were/are not suffering from indigestion, hot flushes or some other old wives’ complaint. Their bodies were gearing up for a creative boost or something to that effect.

And incidentally, not only the human race is governed by levels of sex hormones. So that might explain why elefants, chimps and even cats have their creative days.

Excessive creativity – the sort that makes you wield your brush too wildly or expect so much of yourself that you’re almost bursting with the urge to be brilliant, can be leveled out by participating in a sport called “Tossing the caber” (fell tree, remove excess branches and toss).

It’s all mind over matter! Happy tossing errrr I mean painting.

From: Terry Mason — Sep 16, 2008

Please address letters appropriately. This wasn’t to “folks” it was to “men”. There is no evidence that women’s testosterone levels rise when we are excited. The study was done on men because men still dominate the trading world. We can’t extrapolate the results to women. And women paint.

You know basically I really love these letters I get from you. I like the whole idea of this site. But truly, when ONCE AGAIN I get letters that don’t include me but act like they do, I am really forced to write and point out the obvious sexism. This research is not about “folks”. It is about men. Again, women paint.

From: Suzette Fram — Sep 16, 2008

Thanks, Robert, for starting my day with a laugh. After all the years of hearing about ’emotional females’, how refreshing to have the tables turned and hear about the hormone fluctuations of males. And that one about hiring female stock traders because they’re less likely to fluctuate, oh yeah, good one. Where DO you get that stuff??

From: pkelley — Sep 16, 2008

Maybe biorhythms have something to do with the highs and lows.

From: Rick Rotante — Sep 16, 2008

Here we go with another study. Pish tosh and balderdash. You would do better reading pure fiction than attaching your star to these ridiculous “studies”. One has to seriously question their validity and the source funding behind these “studies”. I still would rather trust my bone tossing over an aged alligator skin than trust these meretricious studies.

From: Consuelo — Sep 16, 2008

How dare this study suggest that male and female are biologically different. Off with their heads I say!

From: Elihu Edelson — Sep 16, 2008

I hope the ladies don’t get flucked.

From: Ann Chaikin — Sep 16, 2008

My favorite part is that they are supposed to hire women because we are less subject to hormone swings… how it has changed since I was growing up in the 50s and 60s when we were supposed to be the moody ones. I suspect that there is much more going on here than changes in the particular hormones they were looking at. It sure does seem to a gender-specific study.

From: vincent — Sep 17, 2008

I have heard that Eva Braun had orgasms during Hitler’s oratories too ;-)

From: Chris Everest — Sep 18, 2008

For any youngsters out there facing their own battles with testosterone (including both genders ; from opposite directions), any budding speech writers coaching future world meglamaniacs (and their women), any fluctuating financial whizzkids pondering their inconsistent performances on the floor of the stock market ;

Let me direct your attention to a 1973 film starring Woody Allen called “Sleeper”. Cue the “Orgasmatron” – A totally harmless, balanced, sensible way of living. Away from political ideology and sexual inequalities, in fact its very reasonableness reminds me of something else, oh yes Art. That’s it. Painting and drawing and stuff. (Thank God Religion wasn’t mentioned)

From: Melissa Evangeline Keyes — Sep 18, 2008

Because of my two year old involvement with the stock market, I am free to paint. That is, inbetween reading relevant news, blogs, and commentary. It’s a gamble for them who don’t put in several to many hours every day keeping up with what’s going on.

Anyway, I saw and read that study also, and am quite amused that you used it for a letter’s subject, Robert.

I wonder if all traders are bald or balding?

From: John Ferrie — Sep 18, 2008

I come from a family of stock brokers. While at dinner, they rarely make any sense to me, there is always a charge and adrenaline with their discussions.

I am very much my fathers son and have passion and an electric charge about being an artist. I am not sure if it is my paintings or the enthusiasm I have for my work that sells it.

Maybe a combination of both…Whether is is estrogen, testosterone or just plain adrenaline, I love that I get a charge out of what I do.

Now, if only I could go public!

From: Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki — Sep 19, 2008

I can’t decide if it is just silly or worse. I myself suffer from inexplicable ups and downs, and I couldn’t be more interested to find out how to deal with them. I understand your point that those are snowball trends controlled by the complex body chemistry, but to point out a specific hormone and to link that to genders and professions – that doesn’t make any sense what so ever. The statement that traders should hire women to get less fluctuation was so silly that I laughed out loud! Ever heard of PMS or menopause?

From: Maritza Bermudez — Sep 19, 2008

I have asked myself many times why sometimes I’m very creative and on a “roll”, and sometimes I don’t feel like painting at all. All artists go thru the same feelings. One thing is know for sure, when an idea hits you, it is at that precise moment that you should act on it if you can. That “light” that goes in your head is your artistic testosterone telling you “to go!” Luckily, my studio is in my home where I spend most of the time, so for me it is easy to act on an idea, and if I cannot, I make a note in my “Ideas File” for later use. Sometimes I am working on 2 or 3 pieces at the same time. Has it ever happened to you that you look at some of your work that you have not looked at in a while and suddenly look at one of them and you say to yourself, “aha, this one’s good! How did I do this?” That was your testosterone being active. The more you do, the more active you are. The less you do, inactivity sets in.

From: Diane Voyentzie — Sep 19, 2008

Pardon me…..This is pure BS…. Hopefully!!!!! If not, we are in more trouble than we think……….

From: Jill Wagner — Sep 19, 2008

Oh, I so relate to this! I’ve been trying to track why and how I produce the “good stuff”. You know, the works that just fly off your fingers and have a connection to your inner self. On off days, I just feel like I am going thru the motions and can’t grab on to that total high that comes from where, I don’t know.

I know women have testosterone too. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could measure it on a daily basis? But what the heck. Even if it was a downer day, I’d keep painting anyway!

From: Liz Reday — Sep 19, 2008

Your study doesn’t mention any of the other hormones our bodies produce, nor the fact that in the hormone world, things change fast. What to make of the feelings (or hormones) that course through the body and mind of an artist when he/she wins a prize, lands a prestigious gallery or sells a painting? These things can come out of the blue, then what? How many artists feel they’re on a roll and the keepers come churning out? How many artists want to race back into the studio and rack up a few more masterpieces? Or do these pinnacles of achievement create subsequent self doubt?

The words of John Cage really have resounded in my ears about not trying to create and critique at the same time. In the tumultuous whirl of art-making doesn’t it seem like every painting is worth doing? If it’s not a winner, why bother? Don’t we as artists need to suspend judgement while in the act and just let our intuitive facility rip? I think I’ll stick with Picasso’s simple surrender to the ultimate seduction of the work itself.

From: Theresa Bayer — Sep 19, 2008

I’m sure you will have many people writing in to tell you that the making of art is far more mental than hormonal. There are many of us who have had illnesses, injuries, surgeries, all kinds of anomalies of the body and yet we tap into our creativity and make art. Art is thought made physical, not hormones made physical.

From: Marsha Smith — Sep 22, 2008

Baseball players have a bunch of “superstitions” that they always follow. Just watch the pattern of movements they go through before batting. Perhaps it’s a way of bring up the testosterone level. Maybe we could learn from them!

From: Charle Philip — Sep 22, 2008

How remarkably brilliant and timely of Robert to submit this testosterone material at this time when the hormone has been rampant and building to record levels in the stock market. Testosterone leads to greed in all layers of life, including art. Live on Robert, do you have a stock-trading newsletter?

From: M — Sep 28, 2008

I have been through hormone hell my whole life due to an early traumatic brain injury… I have so much I could say about this piece!!! It’s all true! I’ve been on hormone therapy for years. If I don’t take ’em to keep me stabilized (read: normal fluctuations) I’m an absolute mess on either side of the scale! So, I totally believe this. I’ve lived very acutely for over half my life.

Cheers

 

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