You search by scratching and pinging and looking at others who have scratched and pinged. Federico Fellini did it, Woody Allen did (and is doing it), Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse did it, I am doing it. It is a slow process. It insists upon movement and change. In fact, if you look at any true masterwork in film, literature, or the visual arts, you process anew every time you take a look, even if you have seen that masterwork a 100 times before. That constant renewal of insight is the difference between profound art and art du jour. Profound art is like life; every day is new and different. You comprehend differently every time you walk with the same mind and body through the same spatial domain. Amazing!? No. It is the wonder of a processing mind. I am writing about this process today because yesterday's drawings were drawn with true and authentic self-consciousness. Do they represent ultimate thought and ideas? Were they made with ultimate knowledge? No to both of those questions. They were, however, powerfully true to me and what I knew when I made them. This cannot be said with every work I make. I wish always to be present without distraction, i.e. mindful of where I am and what I am doing. As much as I am involved in making a work of art I am involved in being fully aware as I make marks on paper or canvas. I believe I am getting better at this mindfulness, and I believe these drawings are exhibits in that regard.
I am getting serious. I am looking for a home that makes sense to me. Something is icummen in, and it ain't winter. This is hard work and it is not always gratifying, but it is changing my life and well being. Today is another day. Today I will try again. "Raineth drop and staineth slop, And how the wind doth ramm!"
Winter is icummen in,
Well, well, well. You figure it out. I will be back in two days to explain!!!!!!!
The next big thrust in my work will be to search for direct and forceful engagement. Yes, the present work has finesse. It does not have the sign-like organization which captures the viewer immediately with a vigorous and powerful confrontation. The magic which arrests attention is lacking. The art works I admire have this wizardry, from Picasso's, to Francis Bacon's, to Egon Schiele's. Not so much Matisse's work, but they have a deeper, contemplative depth. In sum, I am on a quest to marry the arresting ability of works, such as those of Picasso, Bacon, and Schiele, with the depth of contemplative reserve of the work of Matisse.
There is me in this, but it is not the me I usually see or know or feel comfortable with. As I said yesterday, it is what it is, and I should accept it without reservation. This is the finished state of Untitled-02·07·2014. I even signed it. It will go on exhibition tomorrow at Long River Studios.
BTW: I finished Untitled-02·07·2014 just 30 minutes ago. Today I also framed three drawings. All will begin their exhibition tomorrow at Long River Studios. I tell you this because tomorrow I will begin new work and I will not post here. (I usually post the day after work is created.) As usual, as I begin the new work I will react to Untitled-02·07·2014 and everything else I have done. I will continue to seek mindful authenticity.
I am not sure, but I think this version of Untitled-02·07·2014 is better than the last. It feels basic and low down, but it is what it is and I made it. This represents my being mindful of the image in front of me, and also mindful of the intellectual/emotional/intuitive place I am when I am acting. I accept it for what it is. I do no expect another one just like it. All my work will call for different beginnings and different endings. All of them will surprise me. This is exactly how self-acceptance works!
If you followed the making of this painting you may be as rewarded and as confused as I am. It is what it is. It is not what I envisioned upon my first encounter with its white canvas, nor is it what I envisioned after my first day of laying down paint. So what? Well, it points to me releasing myself into my deepest intuition and falling away from presupposed image making. I continue to learn I am not the painter I envision myself to be. This painting, made in collusion with my intuition, has caused contusion to my super ego, which is good.
Explanation of super ego from Wikipedia:
I do not want to be an infinite futz. I liked the arms and hands in this painting's previous version (#6), but this one (#7) is better in a few ways. The new hand gestures are more subtle and have deeper meaning. The overall color scheme is better and more manageable. The colors make greater sense in terms of balance, contrast, light, and form. At last I can see this painting's completion coming. As to mindful art-making, I need to continue to question that. This painting took a rather rough ride to get where it is now. I would prefer to get there without the bumps. Also, the color correction of the heads definitely moved in the right direction. The red floor now plays well with the flesh tones and the table top hue.
The process amazes me, yet I am daunted by its lack of speed. I am not acting with comprehensive knowledge. I still have to stop, look, wonder, then act. This is not always fun or efficient. But the work is paying off. Even though this painting is taking a lot more time to complete than I had hoped, my efforts to become mindful, and thus reactive in the moment, is paying off. Yesterday's changes were little in number, but profoundly mindful of the image, forms, and the composition that was in front of me. This painting is going toward completion on a high level. The man's and woman's arms and hands now make sense, as I abandoned the forced perspective in the initial states of this painting.
I had little time in the studio yesterday. The latest snow inundated us. I am the digger that gets us out. I think there must have been close to 2 feet on the ground. It was a physically tiring day. My snow moving effort may have shortened my time in the studio, but I feel it was a very good and successful day of art-making.
The color scheme in Untitled-02·07·2014 is changing. The color will change as the hands have changed. This is not the quickly made, spontaneous picture I wanted it to be, but it me wrestling with the concept of art-making mindfulness. I am being true to this picture. It is not the approach I preconceived it would be. That was my mistake: preconception is always dubious. This painting is calling for more changes. Right now I can see a couple transformations begging to happen. The woman's hand which juts forward needs to be redrawn and downsized. The floor will go toward the red as the flesh color will become less blazingly red (more toward the violet). Obviously this painting needs at least one session.
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