In order to make yesterday's drawing I struggled, seeking and finding the little creative energy I had. I have had a couple of very good weeks. It is time to step back, rest, gather the energy I require, then return to the studio with intention.
I am unable to do better than simply draw without consciously needing to know direction or eventual outcome. I am not an artist who plans well. My art is not trying to illustrate, nor describe that which I know. I am trying to discover that which I do not consciously know, that which exists within me but I do not know. I am walking a road of self-discovery, not a road with sign-posts and advertisement billboards. The amazing thing I report today is my wonderment over the discovery that my unknowing is the subject of my art. The only way I know to allow this happen is to approach drawing relentlessly, with no preconceived direction. This seems impossible, since picking up a pencil is a preconceived direction. The manner in which my muscle memory makes lines is a preconceived direction. Training oneself is necessary, but it is, possibly, a hindrance in an activity such as mine.
Yesterday's second drawing is more openly discovered than the first. It led me to a more open approach to the head in the painting Tele-Vision. I return to the studio today with this in mind.
Drawings from 07/29/2015, both pencil on paper, 16X20 inches
It happens. A man thinks he knows what he's doing, and how to go about doing it. But he's wrong. The reality show is beginning anew. This is a new season. That which came before came measured and with some surprise, but the new stuff is that which I am forced to accept as real. All I have done has missed the true and central mark.
Getting normal is seeing as a normal person sees. George Bernard Shaw pointed out to me that seeing normal is rare. Shaw's eye doctor told him that less than 10% of people see normally. This probably means 90% of artists have abnormal vision. Most artists are therefore not relevant to most of us. Abnormalities come in many varieties, all of which are peculiar, and known, to the segment of the population that has that particular abnormality. In summation, my art may look radical, or unusual, to some of the population, but I declare, it is "normal!"
Today I show my previous two days of work. It is robust and immediate, but is it translationally engaging? There is my problem. The contemporary world's art markets seem to prefer abstract, seemingly contemplative, painting. Is my work relevant to minds coexistent to mine? Does it matter? I actually do not think it matters. It is my job to follow my path. It is my job to communicate as best I can. That's all there is.
Drawings: 7/25/2015 & 7/24/2015, both pencil on paper, 16X20 inches
What is it about the plod that dazes and confuses? It is because we are not alone. This is a good thing. It make us examine who we are and what we do. People like my art, people dislike my art. It goes both ways. Both yes and no are helpful. And so it goes.
Yesterday was a return to the studio after 6 days away. Safety first. That's where I went. Yesterday's drawing revisited that which I know well. Safe, but ultimately not satisfying. I want more for myself. I want more for my viewers. Repeating that which is known gives security in the present, but carries with it mistrust, and a lack of self-questioning. I want more than just being here. That does not sound mindful. Or is it? Discomfort can not be alleviated without seeking more knowledge than one already possesses.
Drawings of 7/16/2015, both 20X16 inches, pencil on paper
I have been unable to get into the studio for a few days, but I am back today. The drawings shown today are 6 days old, reminding us of where I am.
Drawings from 7/15/2015, all pencil on paper, 16X20 inches
Yesterday's drawings were more prolific than usual. They are shown in "Gallery Format", so please click on an image to increase its size for easier viewing. After working hard to make sure I delivered a couple of good pieces of art to the AVA Gallery Juried Summer Exhibition, I, at first, felt lethargic, then I felt introspective. The introspective is what you see in yesterday's drawings.
I prepared, then delivered, a painting and a drawing, for exhibition. This distracted me from my normal routine of creativity. Fragility of the nuances of self-knowledge is apparent when daily activity is interrupted. Yes? No? More complex is the answer. Working hard sometimes confuses, rather than clarifies. Yesterday's drawing does feel confused to me, but it was fun in the making. I will stick with the latter idea and move on.
Moving on includes preparing a new canvas for a new painting. The frame was made yesterday. Today I will stretch the canvas. This process of traditional preparation takes more time than I would like. The resulting canvas, on its stretcher, takes up room and calls out permanency, which is not always a good thing. I am thinking of trying the method used by my mentor, Philip Guston. He simply tacked canvases on a wall. When a painting was completed, he had the canvas stretched on a properly dimensioned frame. This method allows one to get to painting more quickly, but there could be problems with it. If odd in dimension, a uniquely sized canvas must be manufactured, rather than using standard stretchers bars, as I now do. Also, stretching stresses the paint on its canvas support. This could lead to cracks in the paint. Guston got away with it. His works have thickly applied paint and no apparent cracking. I will give it try.
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