Where is thisI? I feel like I am on trial. Just when I thought it was safe it turns to innocence. All of this looks new to me, as if I am waking up. I am surprised by the stuff that is appearing in front of me, out of nowhere, without precedence. I am on a nighttime highway, in great darkness. I am unable to see far. My headlights have gone dim, allowing me to know only a short distance in front of me. I have to make the best of appearances, one by one as they take shape, become a vision.
Yesterday's drawings were many, all somewhat different from one another, ranging from a simple impulse to a complex composition. The painting 2017 No.8 took a stranglehold upon me. I am working to survive it. The changes that are state 3 are good enough for me to have faith in the process. I believe I am doing all I can and all I must do. Nice!
This strange and wonderful painting, 2017 No.8, is springing up with this season of newness. It is many things. It is new. It portends a lot of labor. It is eclectic, and referential. This is not an easy spring! It is a reflection of many things known, such as patterns that force the third-dimension, and zigzags that do that too! Yesterday's drawing is, perhaps, also a plant-like reference to this season.
First, here's to the beginning of a new painting, 2017 No.8...
Now, to the topic of the day...
I am, it seems, hyper-interested in the subtle play of light across three-dimensional forms. Yesterday's drawing is a simple study. In it, I look carefully at value shifts on a form, as light illuminates it. There is light even in the darkest recesses. Light is always perceived. OK, yes, once I did perceive a total absence of light; just once in my entire life! When I was 9 years old my parents took me to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. The crowd of observers entered a room deep within the earth. The guide warned us: She was going to turn off the lights. The guide said it would the first time in our lives we would experience the absolute absence of light. The lights went out. I remember putting my hand in front of my face. I could not see it. That remains my only experience with total absence. Making a painting, or drawing, is the antithesis of this experience. It is, first and foremost, working with the omnipresence light. It is an artifice. The artist forces the viewer to comprehend the subtleties of light on form. This remembrances of three-dimensional perception occurs on a two-dimensional surface. This is true for all great two dimensional art, including the greatest non-representative and abstract paintings. This is the reason Willem de Kooning's abstractions are great, while Jackson Pollack's paintings are not-so-great. At the bottom of today's post I reproduce paintings by de Kooning and Pollack. To be fair to Jackson Pollack I reproduce one of his best works, which, yes, exhibits a play of light!
The painfulness of being an artist is doing this activity in loneliness. Feedback, good or bad, rarely happens, except from one's own introspection. The problem, the pain of this, comes from distrust of oneself. There are good days and there are bad days. Trust is high, or trust is low. Today I feel good about yesterday's result. I am not saying this is the best of all possible drawings, but I do believe it has merit. The sweetest part of this was in the making. Several times I believed I had misdirected myself. I had to pull a stunt. I forced the drawing back to itself, demanded (as it was) by its own self-revelation. I did it. I made the effort. It eventually made sense. It works for me! This is value. Now I have cash in my brain. It is the currency that buys intuition. I know more, I see better than I did two days ago. Seeing better means the quality of decisions are better because they are better informed. I took two steps forward. The strong feeling of loneliness will come when the inevitable one step backward occurs. I will get through that moment. Then, with effort, I will take two steps forward.
I can now declare 2017 No.7 done and over. I am over it. I am moving on. Questions remain. Possibilities remain. Options were not followed and possibilities are open to dispute. There are a few suspicions I would like to put to rest, but not here, not now. I know this debate, this interrogation, will come again, in another painting. So, I move on, allowing 2017 No.7 to be the best it can be at this juncture.
Before 2017 No.7 lit up, became brighter, I made yesterday's drawing. I am beginning to understand that my question of the day often surfaces in my drawing, then moves into the painting. Yesterday's drawing is filled with white and light, and has a geometric, compositional solution. The painting took on more white and light too, practiced, as it was, in the drawing.
I actually thought I was done with the painting 2017 No.7. Today's reproduction of that painting made me think again. The color value of the bottom right magenta area is too dark. Theres is very little change in that area from the previous state, but the left bottom corner did change a lot. A balance in contrast is now off. Conclusion: One more day of work on this painting is required.
Yesterday's drawing came fast and furious. Some days the juices flow in one place (the drawing), then I miss the mark in another place (the painting).
Openness to surprise is the game I play. Openness is the manner I pose in order to self-discover. It is unfortunate that it takes an infinity to reveal oneself to oneself. I am one who wishes it was easier and quicker, while at the same time I do enjoy the problem solving process immensely. Yesterday's drawings are me being open to floating forms, incongruent shadows, and to a grid animated by its spatial play. These things interest me because they pull concentrated questions from dark holes in my brain. At this point I do not know why this approach to image-making works well for me. I do know being open to alternatives is the only way I will reveal the fullness of my intellectual/emotional being.
Openness is an overarching concept or philosophy that is characterized by an emphasis on transparency and free, unrestricted access to knowledge and information, as well as collaborative or cooperative management and decision-making rather than a central authority. Openness can be said to be the opposite of secrecy.
I will make few comments today. Yesterday's work fits exactly the definition of today's title (from Wikipedia - see quote at bottom). The drawings are elegant. I find them unusual, but satisfying. I never know where I am going, but I do know this concatenation of refinement feels right.
Honing is an abrasive machining process that produces a precision surface on a metal workpiece by scrubbing an abrasive stone against it along a controlled path. Honing is primarily used to improve the geometric form of a surface, but may also improve the surface texture.
I have said it before. Picasso said it. Making art is like writing a diary. Every day thoughts flood my mind. These thoughts are original and new. These thoughts are me living. These thoughts are me reacting to the day before today. These thoughts are questions I am asking about all I have done and all I have experienced.
Yesterday's drawings feel more like a diary entry than usual. These drawings are exploring latent ideas springing into my mind in contrast to the work I see before me. I am reacting to the painting I did the day before and to the drawings from the day before. I am questioning. I am answering. I am researching. The weird thing is the enduringness of this activity. Weird because somewhere, in the back of my mind, I think I can figure this out and make one fully realized image on canvas or paper. That is not going to happen. No way is there an ending to this activity.
Real is not what it used to be. Real is new, surprisingly new, everyday new, everyday different from the day before. No two drawings are alike. No two paintings are alike. No two days are alike. Each is lived with information from the day before. The assemblage of knowledge of all experience is the root that nourishes the new. I am not happy with every day lived, nor with every drawing and painting made. Their reality informs me, gives me the information I need to reveal more of myself. I live. I make.
To read my profile go to MEHRBACH.com.
At MEHRBACH.com you may view many of my paintings and drawings, past and present, and see details about my life and work.