"Pulling Onions" took a turn for the better, as I simultaneously paid attention to form and composition. Unfortunately today's reproduction is not great, as I bleached out the upper right, and the standing man's head, when taking the photo of the painting (poor placement of a light). I will work on the onions and other details today, such as hands and feet.
It is time to begin a new painting. I need to prepare a canvas.
All was going well, then I got tired. Most of what I did on "Pulling Onions" was good. Then, at the end of day I went into the standing man's head and botched it. When I get tired I rely upon old formulaic manners of action, in this case producing a head which is OK in its own right, but does not correctly respond to the overall composition. Explaining this is not simple, since knowing this is intuitive. I can tell you his head should be more like a bowling ball than a naturalistic rendition. I will wipe out his head today and do it as response to the entire entity, and not as a live-alone form. The drawing I did yesterday was a warning that I was tired and apt to fall back into old habits. Instead of being compositionally sound and active, it is simply an exploration of human forms. Dull. Thankfully, today is a new day.
I can's stop myself from using these economic analogies. Our nation is on pins and needles. I'm always on pins and needles. Congress is trying to pass legislation to prevent default on Nation's our debt obligations. I have debt obligations too, but I am speaking in art, not money. Like Congress, I too am trying to find a way to resolve my obligations. Perhaps my recent painting, "Pulling Onions," is related to the confusion inherent in paying down one's obligations. "Pulling Onions" is a dirty job, but someone has to do it. In fact, I like doing it, because I like onions! It is the reward which makes the job worthwhile. For years I have struggled to become more efficient at my job in order to make the effort as rewarding as the end product. That is happening now. I am beginning to find instant gratification in the art I am making. I am finding satisfaction in drawing a fingernail which relates to the expression of the whole. Making art is making small marks while trying to comprehend the effect of that small mark on the whole picture. As I get closer to this global comprehension, while acting in the moment, I also get closer to fulfillment. I won't default because I can't give up. Getting closer to fulfillment is a drug I can not do without. I know this will never end.
Reading between the lines of my philosophical discussion you may discern my satisfaction with yesterday's work. In each case it was a step forward in my comprehesion. Today I will work on the right figure in "Pulling Onions." His form has to be clarified in order to compete with the figure on the left. Yesterday I also found much satisfaction in the manner in which the figure in the first drawing was found. There was a spontaneity in finding it; the figure was not, in any way, preconceived.
This business of making art is confusing. I work every day. Despite all my work and effort, I do not fully comprehend the meaning of my deficit. I know it's there. I know my art pales in comparison to what it has the possibility of being. This gap between what I exhibit and what I internally know is my deficit. I hope I am not disturbing you with the comparison of my problems with the problems facing the economy of our country. I do believe there are natural laws at work in both. Making art is me observing myself as I would observe a machine; trying to comprehend "how it works." Apparently this idea fits into economics and investing as well. The article about the hedge fund manager, Ray Dalio, in the July 25, 2011 issue of The New Yorker echos this thought. The article is entitled, "Mastering the Machine." Dalio believes... "Almost everything is like a machine. Nature is a machine. The life cycle is like a machine." The author of The New Yorker article summarizes Dalio's struggle in a similar manner to the way I would summarize my struggle: "His constant goal...was to understand how the economic machine works....what is the nature of the machine?" My problem is exemplified in my struggle to make visual all I know and feel. This struggle grows as I make art. By making art I understand more, and as my depth of knowing increases, so does the distance between the images I make and the depth of my knowledge. Thus my deficit.
The work I show today has taken another step toward comprehension. I like these works, for now. They are, however, one small step. As good as they are, I want my art to speak more completely, more clearly, more precisely, than these works.
I am always aware of my deficit. I do not know enough. My sum of knowledge is too small to make ends meet. My daily work goes into increasing my knowledge so I may decrease my deficit. This isn't economics. My deficit is infinite, and this impossible to obtain ceiling is a good thing. In fact, the more I know the higher the ceiling becomes; infinity gets further away, more unobtainable. Making art is the struggle to close the gap between what I know and what I make in visual images. Making art begets knowledge, and knowledge increases the size, and my awareness of, my deficit.
Yesterday started with a drawing, which I show below the current state of the painting "Pulling Onions." The drawing is a study for the painting. Discomfort encircles me. I like the look of this painting. I like the approach. However, it does not speak with the volumes of ideas I wish my work to exude. This is my deficit made real.
Every so often I return to look at Pablo Picasso's work. He and I share a manner of attack, and a love of the figure. Now I realize we also relish the expression created by composition. During the past year I have put this aspect of my art on the back burner. It is returning with a vengence. At the end of today's post I show the initial sketch on canvas of the new painting, "Pulling Onions." Today I will return to this painting with an approach of simultaneously solving composition, form, light, and color. This has been a long time coming. Please watch it unfold in front of your eyes during the next few days. Before viewing the sketch on the new painting, compare my drawing to the Picasso drawing posted below my drawing. Can you see the similarity of approach?
I have little to say as the work is speaking for itself. My verbal thoughts will soon catch us with my visual ideas. For now, I will simply post yesterday's drawings.
I am diving in and discovering. It is a New World. Everyday. Every drawing. I need to return to painting and discover it there too. The second drawing posted today is a masterpiece!
There are mega-changes happening. It is better for me to simply show you the work. Creation is occuring so fast that my thoughts cannot catch up with the new images. Yesterday I made five drawings! This surprised me. I was very tired, as I had not recovered from the previous day's travels.
It was hot day yesterday, nearly 100°F, as I drove back and forth from the Albany, NY train station. For hours I was caught in the station, as I waited for the "Lake Shore Limited," from Chicago, to arrive. The extreme heat had slowed the train. The man at the information desk said the rails were so hot as to be "like honey." I guess this means the heat wave, which now sits between the Midwest and the Northeast, had warmed the steel rails so much as to make them pliable, like freshly made spaghetti. For a massive train this means caution must be taken. The Lake Shore Limited had to move slowly, and it arrived 3 hours late.
Before I left the studio I completed two important drawings. The nature of the drawing are what makes them important. They return me to my chief interest. The readers of this blog may have believed I have one interest, and that is the relationship between two human beings. Over the past year so much of my work has had two figures, one relating to the other. It is only with my recent drawings that I have put forward, once again, the actual reason I make art. I don't want to simply make form, like apples and plants, nor am I dedicated to challenging the technical aspects of painting. I want to research and express the confusion within me. I wish to investigate the significance and ramifications of humanness and existence.
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