It never completes itself in the manner it was envisioned at its beginning. Leonardo da Vinci wrote about the wonderful paintings he imagined as he was engaged by the cracks in the ceiling. Leonardo said through this method of inventive transformation he visualized paintings far greater than any of his actual works. In my imagination I did not envision the painting, "Sight & Sound", going the direction it is now going. Methodologically I am getting closer to painting in acceptance of my internal intelligence, but I continue to feel I am missing the mark. I know the right thing to do is to accept my own limitations and work slowly, scraping away at my limitations, bit by bit. "Sight & Sound" is just one more stepping stone along my way.
It was not the day I had hoped for. I had wanted to work on the painting "Sight & Sound". In the morning I had a meeting that turned into confusion, which required unraveling, and a decision. By the time I got through that, the afternoon was upon me. I will stop complaining, but wish to note, days like yesterday build up frustrated creative energy. Even worse is my inability to get into the studio today, as I am on a trip.
Yesterday I did complete one drawing, which I like because of its unusual twisted form, and its treatment of surface. Today I wish to be in the studio, crashing through my very apparent confines. I now understand the boundaries in which I have penned myself. I want to smash through them and get to the other side. There nothing to do but be patient, realizing my store of energy will unleash itself tomorrow.
By the way, the juror of the AVA Gallery of Art Summer Exhibition has accepted both of my submitted works. The exhibition opens tomorrow with a reception from 5 to 7 pm. The juror was Janie Cohen, Director, Fleming Museum of Art of the University of Vermont. Ms. Cohen has curated many notable exhibitions at the Fleming, including the first Picasso exhibition in Vermont, REMBRANDT AND THE ART OF ETCHING: PRINTS FROM THE REMBRANDT HOUSE MUSEUM, AMSTERDAM, ANDY WORHOL WORK AND PLAY, and the first U.S. exhibition of the German visual artist Gûnter Grass. The Picasso exhibition was called PICASSO: INSIDE THE IMAGE. This exhibition highlighted Picasso's innovative approach to printmaking and examined some of the central themes of his work, including the Minotaur, the artist and his model, and the Old Masters. The exhibition included etchings, lithographs, linocuts, engravings and aquatints from all periods of Picasso's career. I loved it! I feel confident that Janie Cohen's appreciation of Rembrandt and Picasso allowed her to understand the value and substance of my work.
Who knows where it goes? Not me, my friend. I am letting this one go the way it wants to go. I am writing about the painting "Sight & Sound" (above). This "letting go," this "stripping away the fear," is the only way to find authenticity. Here I come, releasing myself of self-imposed restrictions. "Work" is not just showing up, it is making the effort to know better. "Restrictions" never leave. The record shows the more I release the more controlled the outcome. There is an innate framework within me. The more I work the more my art reflects my inherent, structured knowledge.
Here it comes. Long time readers know Mondays are my money days and I get little time in the studio. Yesterday was no exception, but the one drawing I made continues the revelation, as internalization becoming externalization. In many ways, yesterday's drawing is extraordinary, and it felt extraordinary in the making. The subject-matter seems ridiculous, but the presented image is not the subject of the drawing. This drawing is more about a play of light, form, scale, contrast, and composition, then it is about a man and woman.
A new painting was begun. Its intent is twofold: First (and foremost), to continue my revolution in the act of painting, i.e. to paint as I draw, and Second, to make a painting for the upcoming exhibition at my local, Lyme, New Hampshire gallery, Long River Studios. The exhibition is entitled, "Sight & Sound", which is explained on its announcement post card (the post card uses an image of mine)—see the post card below my drawing from yesterday. Indubitably, the new painting is called "Sight & Sound". So far the making of this painting has felt good. I painted with an open spirit, allowing my interaction with the unfolding objectives of the painting to dominate my decsion-making. As usual, the results were unexpected, and they do not feel as novel, or as radical, as I believe will come in future paintings. The major success of my actions, thus far, are me acting intuitively, and spontaneously, in search of solutions. I am not dictating my interests beyond the first impulse to find a way to introduce sound into the painting. I plainly accomplished the "Sound" by painting a French Horn.
I leave you today with a late painting by Vincent van Gogh. I know little about this painting, except two things: (1) It spontaneously, and intuitively, sings the knowledge of a painter at the top of his game (I am jealous, and am working to know as much), and (2) This painting was owned by the actress Elizabeth Taylor, and it was recently auctioned at Christie's in London. Most amazing to me in this painting is van Gogh's control of value and color. He accomplished a grand animation through subtle contrasts in the values of color, both local and atmospheric.
I was surprised. All that work I did, preparing the painting, "Revolution 10", for exhibition, finally got to me. I was forced to take an afternoon nap. Before that I made one drawing. I am still learning. In yesterday's drawing the faces of the two characters were enhanced by darker lines defining the individual elements, from eyes to nose to lips. This causes a play between the form creating shadows and the form defining lines. Interesting; why am I surprised? Growth is weird.
There is an article in the June 25, 2012 New Yorker Magazine about the painter George Bellows. As usual I enjoy this author, Peter Schjeldahl. Here is one sentence which Schjeldahl wrote about Bellows: "His most famous painting, "Stag at Sharkey's" (1909), is also his finest: fighters slamming into each other, rendered with brushwork so eloquent—fast, sensuous, subtle—as to feel prophetic of Willem de Kooning." You know how highly I regard de Kooning. Ideas like Schjeldahl's about Bellows remind me of the reason. It helps clarify one of the goals of my natural tendencies: As I create figures I wish to render them "with brushwork so eloquent—fast, sensuous, subtle." After this paragraph you can see George Bellow's painting, "Stag at Sharkey's".
While searching for images of George Bellows' work, I came across the following image at www.GeorgeBellows.com, a site which sells his original lithographs and drawings. This image reminds me of some of my images. Perhaps I have found one more kindred spirit!
I lied. Many in the world do not act the way I am so desperately training myself to act. It is about genuine truth, and finding a way to constantly act within a groove which defines just that: authenticity! Yesterday's drawing felt this way. It is not about the image, but about using touch and feel in pursuit of the authentic. My job is finding reality by marking and erasing and marking again, a circular and iterative process continued until the product rings true. This reads like a cliché, but it defines my job. Writing down the idea of how it works is easy. The doing it, with consistency, is hard.
Here is the pep talk portion of today's post: It is time to carry the ideas set forth in paragraph one into my painting. Yesterday I prepared a 60 X 52 inch canvas. It sits, gleamingly white, on my painting wall. Today I will begin to make marks on this canvas, with no intention other then to act correctly.
Today I show you the two works delivered yesterday to the AVA Gallery of Art for their juried summer exhibition. They were physically delivered. More important, I feel deliverance. In particular, by completing the painting, "Revolution 10", I am emancipated. I will never again make a painting in the way I made "Revolution 10". The drawing is more meaningful to me in its use of form, composition, and surface as expression of seeking and finding.
I will begin a new painting very soon, and it will surprise all of us.
I am not going to say "Revolution 10" is the painting I always wanted to make. It is the painting I had to make. I had to make "Revolution 10" in order to move on. Completing "Revolution 10" has given me confidence in my skills. I can now make the paintings I want to make. Today is the day I will deliver two works, "Revolution 10" and one drawing, to be juried in, or out, of the AVA Gallery Summer Exhibition.
The two drawings I post today were actually completed over the last three days (the first from 06/16/2012, and the second begun on 06/16 and finished yesterday). You can see where my work is going. In these drawings there is an overall quality of seeking and finding, which is not omni-present in "Revolution 10". This ubiquitous, and pervasive, sense of drawing, as questioning and answering, is the essential driving force of my art. My making art feels right when I am searching for truth by the activity of seeking marks on the paper or canvas which sing true. It is not just making marks, it is adding and subtracting. It is scratching around, looking for authenticity in the surface, and in the images. When I speak "surface" I mean it in two ways, the surface of the rendered forms, and the surface of the canvas or paper.
On Tuesday June 19th I will submit a drawing, and a painting, to the juried AVA Gallery Summer Exhibit. Yesterday's drawing may be the one submitted, and, of course, I will submit the painting "Revolution 10". I did not touch "Revolution 10" yesterday, and I may not today. It requires only minor touch-ups before submitting it. I am proud I accomplished "Revolution 10", but like all revolutions, it is simply a stepping stone. Revolutionary stepping stones are disturbing. This painting is no exception. I am uncomfortable with it. I want my process to reflect normal growth, not the disquiet and discomfort of a struggle to move from uncertainty to security.
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