Untitled Drawings-01·30·2015 Nos. 1, 2, 3, pencil on paper, 11X14 inches
Yesterday was a day of intense work in the studio. Looking back, it is difficult to believe I got all of this work done in one session. As usual, the drawings came first, then the painting.
The painting is relatively small (for me), but its symmetry, attention to surface, and minor versus major form, fascinates me. It is a head-on painting, with simplicity of color, and simplicity of composition. This, like the size of painting, is rather unusual for me.
No more comments from me today, except me noting that the formal qualities explored in yesterday's studio session are remarkable.
Every day, when I rise from sleep, I realize the amount of work facing me. I must encourage myself to have courage. This is work. No matter how much I wish it were easy, insights do not come easy. Inspired as I am to seek and find, I must do the work. I want to know and see more quickly; there is never enough time and energy in my day. This is a long haul job. The most important insight occurring now, as I work, is the discovery of contrast as an animator of form and composition. The drawings and the painting shown today are from two days ago. The first drawing of January 28th is at the bottom. It carries through ideas insightfully discovered the day before. It is in the second drawing (the portrait head), however, that I played better with contrast. After the drawings, I went to painting. The green around those receding blocks was darkened. This higher contrast causes the painting to pop better than before. The painting is now on its way to completion. Happily, an effective increase in my artistic arsenal is readily seen.
A Note on Reproduction: The last few drawings have been on rough, slightly yellow, paper. In the portrait head you can see the yellow, but in the drawing of the abstract form (#1, bottom of page) all color was removed because a weird optical effect occurred which caused low value colors on its ground — it is reproduced in gray scale.
Untitled Drawings-01·27·2015, Nos. 1, 2, 3, pencil on paper, 11X14 inches
Please look at everything! Yesterday was a wondrous and eventful day in the studio. The middle section of my studio-time was give to the portrait drawing shown below. It was a revelation in the making — it was controlled expression! I sustained sensitivity and feeling throughout its creation. In the past I had not been able to maintain expressive energy throughout the making of a drawing as complex as this one. If anything sums up yesterday's insight it is this: the use of contrast to animate forms. This is most apparent in the portrait drawing. It followed me into the painting. However, after finishing Drawing #4, my remaining time in the studio was limited. This insight did not have enough time to be fully expressed in the painting.
I have made things more difficult for myself. I feel nervous and in a hurry, yet unable to rush. The nuances are insistent. My painting is calling for extreme attention to details. For instance, the blocks near the center of painting lack adequate contrast (light versus dark). Today's reproduction of painting Untitled Painting-01·06·2015, and all my reproductions, are imperfect. The more I attend to nuance the further the reproductions remove themselves from reality. Here is another "for instance": the background's rhythmic undulation of flatly drawn, mountain like peaks, moves from Pure Cadmium Orange on the left to Pure Cadmium Red Medium on the right, yet you can not see this in today's reproduction. I tried to get it right, but the complexity of the all the nuances present in this painting forced me to compromise to get this reproduction as close to authenticity as it now appears. There is no full success in reproducing art works on the web or on paper!
I am struggling to be open and free, but time is limited and insights are unlimited. What to do? I choose to struggle on.
Untitled Drawings-01·25·2015, Nos. 1, 2, 3, pencil on paper, 11X14 inches
Who am I to know where this is going❓
What can I tell you? It happens! There are days when I go through the motions of art-making while feeling distracted by emotional issues outside of my personal concerns. Yesterday was one of those days. Conceivably, or surprisingly, this confusion is illustrated in yesterday's unusual drawing. The man in the left panel is obviously interested in the confusion in the right panel. The right panel contains, perhaps, a head on feet covered by something like white, opaque, plastic wrap — also a blade-like object penetrates it though its top. If this drawing speaks deeply about my emotional life, in my day that was yesterday, then there is a "golly!" and a "gadzooks!" in this revelation. Could it be that I speak intuitively even when I feel awash in concerns outside myself?
Can you see where these are going? I can not! Back and forth, and all around, they go from figurative to abstract. Consistent is their interest in form and composition. The one obvious is my struggle for authentic expression. Most gratifying is their high quality. It is my search for a simple means to accurate expression that forces upon me the letting go of the falderal. These drawings are moving me toward the point, to the reason, for making drawings. This seems odd to convey, but looking back, I believe most of my artistic career, and perhaps most of my career as living being, has been dedicated to activity as education, not activity as self-expression. There is a hump in one's path. It is the impediment to becoming an expressive entity. That hump is education. I don't mean education as simple information gathering. Good education is trial and error, a colloquy of learning. If successful, one's education gives one the means to decipher the particles in the cloud through which we walk in our daily existence. Most of these particles are required for simple sustenance, but it is those of the metaphysical that are really interesting to me. Mere sustenance can muddle, and even obscure, that which is truly important to understanding oneself. It is my job, as artist, to move through the cloud, to inspect the individual particles that are the cloud, to grab and place in my arsenal those particle that sing truly the language of myself. The rest of the particles are there as support, like the sunshine. Without sunshine we could not exist, but sunshine does not express the metaphysical angst that is the reason for waking up every day and screaming, "We exist for a reason!"
Everything I do has a contrarian possibility. This is nothing to sneeze about. Going, going...
If nothing else, the reproductions are denser, more informative, since I have gone to photographing in RAW Format. I write this because the divide between where and whence and now and here is narrowing, but, as usual, I am impatient. I will take satisfaction anywhere I can get it. That said, there is much satisfaction in yesterday's one drawing. This last sentence may appear confusing, since I have complained about the presence of a divide. Complaints have their degree of correctness. Mine here may be shallow, but it is annoyingly true. I'm thinking about the inherent confusion which I carry because I have a desire to meld my need to continue to think figuratively with my need to express abstractly. Stepping back, observing yesterday's drawing, is informative. The top half of the drawing is abstract in form and in its quality of execution. It felt right to stop with sparsity of line. This barely-rendered, igneous boulder, plays directly over a much more refined image of a reticent, guarded, reluctant man, who cowers in his confusion. Thus an abstract form plays with (and against) the concrete figure. Apt it is. It speaks of me tackling the great divide with wonderment and respect.
One of the changes that appears today is the manner of reproduction. I began by taking the photos of my work in RAW Format, rather than JPEG Format. This increases the amount of accessable data, but also increases the amount of work I needed to do to prepare the images for publication. But technical problems of reproduction is not the reason I write this blog, so let me get to the important stuff. Most remarkable to me about yesterday's work is the portrait drawing, Untitled Drawing #6 (see below, then CLICK on the drawing to ENLARGE for better viewing). Thus my title. This drawing is emotionally more subtle than any figurative work I have done in the last month or so. Looking at art-making through the lens of abstraction has increased my visual-emotional acuity. I believe it to be one of the best figurative drawings I have ever made. It is filled with emotional subtlety and also with subtlety of light, form, and composition. This is proof I have expanded my emotional range as well as my formal range. My work is simply better in every way.
All drawings are pencil on 14X11 inch paper.
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