Sometimes when a painting like Weoman appears I think I am more like Giorgio Morandi than Pablo Picasso. Actually, I am becoming more unlike Morandi or Picasso; I am becoming me. When I write about being "like" an artist, I am referring to my interests, my concerns. It is becoming obvious to me that I am hyper-concerned with light as subject unto itself. This does not diminish my concern with three-dimensional form, space, and composition. Weoman is looking good, but I need to step back, pause, look, contemplate, make sure it is as good as it can be. There may be one or two more states coming.
Never in a day does it happens to me. My paintings unravel, dependably protracted. Drawings occur dependably, from beginning to end, in one session. I continue to be unhappy with Weoman. Don't read me wrong, there are a lot of satisfying solutions in this painting, however it continues to seek completion. Yesterday, when I finished for the day, I looked at Weoman's current state (No.7) and said to myself, "Woe! Why did I not see that! It needs to be different?" And so it goes. I am hoping to finish Weoman soon. I am anxious. I want to get onto my many ideas waiting to be tested on canvas. If there be discipline in my life, it is this: I cannot stop working on anything, from my important personal relationships to my art work, until satisfaction is found. The deepest, most important relationships never end. A painting is a relationship, but I am able to accept it is as complete when it sits well enough within the scope of my present knowledge. I have learned this: Revolutionary ideas are best realized by beginning new paintings. Personal relationships are different: If they are working, they are relentlessly inventive and unresolved.
One of my favorite pieces of music is Igor Stravinsky's Circus Polka. In 1941, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus commissioned the famed choreographer George Balanchine to write a ballet for a somewhat unconventional ensemble: fifty human dancers and fifty trained elephants. Given the freedom of selecting a composer for the the pachyderm production, Balanchine immediately turned to Igor Stravinsky. Balanchine later recounted their telephone conversation:
GB: "I wonder if you'd like to do a little ballet with me."
IS: "For whom?"
GB: "For some elephants."
IS: "How old?"
GB: "Very young."
IS: "All right. If they are very young elephants, I will do it."
Artistic decisions are made in many ways. Mostly through intuition; Knowing whether it is possible to accomplish the intention when presented with a media. Knowing the media causally is often the only option, but trusting one's ability to manipulate the given media is most important. Making art is a leap of faith; Faith in one's own ability. Where am I going with my great effort? Slowly I move toward realization of my deepest concerns. Art-Making, after all, is finding one's own voice, one's own manner of seeing, then swinging through the trees with glee as realization of one's intent begins to match one's intuition.
The distractions in life that help make things work, but don't make me feel emotional satiated, are too many. As examples, there is the slowness of my internet connection and the holes in the side of my truck that need fixing in order for it to pass state inspection. I am dealing with those kinds of mundane things at the same time I am trying to make emotionally satisfying art, Yesterday was more the former, less of the latter. I did make one substantial drawing; I made it fast, it came easily. This drawing sums a few of my recent explorations. It makes sense to me in its play with 3D space, value contrast, form, and ground. More in this manner are coming....
This time in reproduction I will let it go: The ground on the reproduction of yesterday's drawing is gray, not white, but (in reality) it is white. I use a very white 100% cotton rag paper (Stonehenge White). However, if I force this reproduction to have a white ground it appears harsher in contrast than it really is. So, I am accepting gray.
Weoman is in its 5th state. The wonder is the appearance of a solution. I have great fear when I begin a painting (Picasso said, "There is nothing in this world as scary as a white canvas!"). The reason for this is fear of inadequacy, inability, lack of talent, loss of mental acuity; All of that! Well, wonder it is that solutions do occur and I am the one making it so.
Today I admit to photoshop alteration. For the first time I have done research using the tools of the photo enhancement computer program Photoshop. In the painting, Weoman, I altered the left side because I could see changes a-coming that I had not yet accomplished in the studio. The changes seen here will occur immediately upon my working on this painting. This will happen later today. So, I am not fooling you. I admit, I did work digitally on this painting. The manual work upon it will soon match the changes you see here. It will be slightly different, and much better, than what I was able to accomplish with Photoshop.
Yesterday's drawing continues my complex research into an enhanced sense of value, form, line, and compositional structure. I believe yesterday's drawing is a very good drawing. It is predecessor to great work. My process is undergoing transformation. Process change is leading to image change. The profundity of my work is climbing a hill, moving up, moving toward maximization of my human possibilities; all in a time of superheroes!
I had a dream. Its title was Collifocks & Hammers. What??? As mysterious as that is, so am I. Yesterday's drawing is absolutely marvelous. The reproduction here does not represent it well. Remember, I work in pencil on paper; trying to make the grays and whites and the darks (maximum pencil push) reproduce well, is impossible. The true and extreme nuance is simply lost in translation.
The painting Weoman (2018 No.3) is taking a marvelous turn. Marvel it is because I can see it coming; perhaps you cannot. Three-dimensional space is being created, summoned; during its next debate its depth will increase. The bottom left is asking for a plunge forward. It will be solved. Please continue to watch it unravel.
Crosshairs be damned! There is no way I can site down a barrel to take this one out; to make it complete and final. It will not be killed off! I am writing about the painting Weoman. It is as difficult as the invented language of its title. As I work, it makes its own course, wandering, zig-zagging back and forth, insisting it should not be put down. It will thicken, fatten-up, become alive and brilliant. I will follow it there.
Yesterday's drawing is a study for Weoman. I realized its light must come from the front, spraying itself around the forms, casting shadows behind and to the left; Thus this simple drawing.
Confusing it is that I began a new painting with simple trust in impulse and self-dependance. I leapt and I am happy I did. Here is state 1 of Weoman; definitely far from resolved. It opens a gigantic pit of possibilities. By jumping, by not landing satisfactorily, it will be necessary for me to scramble as I walk through this one. It is a good thing; it will lead me to better knowledge of my artistic priorities.
Yesterday's drawing also asks more than it answers. Fascinating day it was; one allowing open dialogue without resolutions.
O Lovely O most charming pug
Promises never kept, albeit on the run. Catch-22 is basically complete. Yesterday, I promised myself I would begin a new painting. That is the promise unkept. Still I am alive and aware and running. More to come (as long as I breathe air).
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.