New & Better...
These reproductions were taken by a Nikon COOLPIX L810 16.1MP Digital Camera, just a simple "point & shoot" camera, not a DSLR. I am surprised. The quality of these reproductions is very good. The death of my old Nikon D80 DSLR (vintage 2006) is a good thing. I will be purchasing a new Nikon DSLR, but the quality of the reproductions you see here is adequate. Adequate enough for me to post a second reproduction of the current state of the painting "2016 No.6". Usually I use a polarization filter to reduce glare from lighting, but this camera does not allow a filter. Still, very good with minimal glare. This proves you learn from a mishap. This proves technology moves rapidly forward, and I need to stay up with it.
Today you can see me ascending a learning curve in more ways than simple reproduction. Although I do think the current state of "2016 No.6" is better than the last, viewing it makes me miss my fondness for deep space. Thus the drawings I made two days ago, posted here today. I believe I have a major problem to work through (which is a constant). Today's major problem is me, integrating light, color, energy of surface and touch, with my fondness for deep space: Not easy for me. At one point in Willem de Kooning's career, and also, earlier in my career, our paintings went Black & White, sans color. This may have to happen again. At the end of today's post are reproductions of Black & White oil paintings, de Kooning's from 1948 and mine from 1984. Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) was not well known in 1948 (his colorful "Woman" paintings began later that year. Willem de Kooning's "Woman" paintings marked the beginning of his artistic maturity).
You are lucky you see this!
This will be the last image taken by my old, vintage 2006, Digital Single Lens Reflex camera. It died in the middle of me taking photos of the one thing I worked on yesterday: the painting "2016 No.6". I am happy I am able to present this because this painting took a large turn. This is state #6. It surprises me, as it must you. Obviously I am going through a massive transition. My creative process, as I draw, has firmed. While drawing I behave in an image driven process, from start to finish. Slowly, painfully, with great effort, I am getting to this same sweet spot in my painting. I have begun to accept the alien feel of the results. This does not mean this is now definitive work. It does mean I have moved toward making paintings that are self-defining.
Today's reproduction is not ideal. The painting was unevenly lit, so the right side of the painting does not hold light equally with the left. Today I will use a low quality point and shoot camera to take photos of any images I produce. I will obtain a new DSLR camera as soon as possible, i.e. about three days.
The impossibility of correctness is undeniable. This applies to reality and to reproduction. Today's reproduction of the painting "2016 No.6" is particularly troublesome. It is, however, not the problem that drives me forward. The thrust of my life is me falling down the pit of consciousness, allowing myself to bump on its walls, taking a bang here and a bang there, all for the good of better understanding. I think that's happening. I think that's how I work. In any case, yesterday's work was good work. I do understand more. I do think my path is sound. I do believe it is my path, my path alone and lonely.
Simplification versus Complexity.
There ain't nothing like a hound dog! The problem is understanding. What exactly is a hound dog? I do not mean its physical appearance. I mean, what makes a perfect hound dog? It has to be a spiritual thing. The problem I am facing in my painting is this comparison between what is seen and what is actually there. Yesterday's drawing sits with me comfortably in its complexity. But the painting, "2016 No.6", is not sitting comfortably. Today I will take a step toward this painting's simplification. Trial and error is one means to understanding. This is research, after all.
Yep! I am trying to see the stuff that makes me admit to myself, "Yes, that's what I like!" Are the newest images similar to those I have created before? "Yes" and "No." My conclusion: I like to surprise myself. There is something else, too. I react each day from that which happened the previous day, or even the previous drawing. There is a give and take, a response to that which has occurred. Nothing I do happens all at once. It is a process of success, failure, success, failure, success, et cetera, or (more precisely): "I have not reached what I want to express, so let me try again."
On a path... that is all I know. Going somewhere, don't know where. I will not know when I arrive because I will never arrive. I do know I feel more at ease with that which I know. I feel I exhibit that knowledge easily. I feel I am accepting that which I must do. Looking back is a funny thing. Not humorous, but amusing and mysterious. Go back and look at my blog posts from 2010. You will immediately understand my amusement. Was that really me? Yes it was. Most apparent by this reflection in that I am here now.
Making the Unknown not-so-scary!
I accept that I make art for one reason: the unknown scares the crazies out of me! I cannot stop doing this activity, making-art, because of this weird, not-so-true, reason: I cannot stop because I cannot know. So I search endlessly. There was an earlier time in my life when I read Jorge Luis Borges with great intent. I have not read Borges in quite a while. My memory has transposed his basic idea into my understanding of the Labyrinth of being. Below I have quoted the forward to Borges' book, "A Personal Anthology" (Forward written by Anthony Kerrigan, Dublin, 1997). Like Borges, I must admit, I most identify as "one who swears he has not died."
Yesterday's drawing is me taking another step toward knowing versus unknowing. The "shadows" and "forms" do and don't make sense, i.e. their references to our lived-in reality is true and false, simultaneously. I hope that Jorge Luis Borges would like this drawing.
The new and different manner of approach, in my painting, is paying off. This one ("2016 No.6") is spilling out in a way similar to my drawing. It feels right. It feel better. I feel more in touch with the process of painting. The previous couple of paintings, Nos. 4 and 5, often felt uncomfortable in their making. Particularly (I believe) because of the under-drawing. The under-drawing sometimes made me uncomfortable, like paying attention to the lines in a coloring book. "2016 No.6" is being made far from that feeling. It is me drawing and inventing as I make the thing. Funny it is, that the method of approach is so very important to the authenticity of the process.
Yesterday's drawing is a good one, but reproduced badly. It is more harsh here, than in person. I have mentioned this before: the more subtlety within a drawing, or a painting, the more difficult it is to reproduce it well.
Do I worry too much? I worry about various topics. Worrying about my art usually pays off. Other worries, such as those about money, health & longevity, possible hacking of my computer and emails, and the truth behind my social and familial relationships, do not usually pay off. They are simply bothers. Those kind of worries distract, not usually in a good way. Over concernment about a worldly, mundane problem often turns into vexation, distracting from being here, being now. You know, the stuff that is actually important.
In art, over concernment forces me to tread carefully. Not good. Experimentation in art is important. Being careful is not important. With this in mind I began a new painting. I abandoned the usual crutch of drawing with an acrylic marker. Yesterday I began "2016 No.6" purely with paint and color. This is closer to the approach I use in drawing. I always post the final state of my drawings. You don't see the introductory scratches, which are full of questions. Today's introduction to "2016 No.6" is "full of questions." I don't know where it is going. In this case I know the confusion, the worry, is OK. It will drive my problem solving.
Whew, got that off my chest! Now, what am I going to do with my life worries?
Let me explain.
What's happening? From my viewpoint (which is limited because I am on the edge of my knowledge) my painting is looking for a way to coexist with the knowledge my drawing exhbits. I can call the last painting ("2016 No.5") a failure, or I can call it a realization. I prefer the latter designation. The painting "2016 No.4" is too complex, the painting "2016 No.5" is too simple. Some of my drawings hit the "sweet spot", where composition, atmosphere, form, and the artifice of light, sing together. I have not found this "sweet spot" in my painting. My painting shows confusion. I need to unsnarl and disentangle. I say this about my painting because my drawings show knowledge which has not fully been seen in my painting. It is in my head. It is there. It must be picked apart and reassembled during the act of painting. Yeah, color is a problem that does not exist in my drawings. Color is not an insurmountable burden. Color is a bonus. Color adds to the force of the art-work. Then what, exactly, is the problem? It is approach. In the next painting I will abandon my use of acrylic marker to find the initial image. I will paint as I draw. I will discover in the act of painting as I have been discovering in my drawing.
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