I will paint today. Unfortunately, the two spaces on my work wall which are available for painting are occupied. Both paintings on the work wall require completion. So, that is today's task. I am inhaling, taking in my knowledge; I feel ready to burst; I need to begin a new painting! The practicality of finishing restricts me; I will hold my breathe, finish at least one of the two paintings on my work wall, then I will blow out strongly; out will come a new painting. The new painting will represent my acquisition of understanding, which (right now) feels very broad, very strong, and very full.
Yesterday's drawings are grandly excellent. I know this. I feel this. Yesterday's drawings exhibit great maturity. I am ready to paint with great maturity. Maturity to me means I know what I am, who I am. It is time to express myself with this newest of feelings.
Perfection is a myth. Some questions can be answered. No sophisticated question can be answered with a perfectly correct sophisticated answer. Why is the sand wet? "Because the the sea weed!" That is NOT the correct answer. Sand being wet is NOT confusing. But the answer to the question of it being wet can be deceptively given, albeit humorous. This is not my game. I am trying to go right at myself, right at self-expression. No deception here. Yesterday's drawings were two steps in the right direction.
Have you noticed? I have not been painting a lot! Well, after making yesterday's drawings, I believe major paintings are coming. Drawings are my first experiments with truth. Paintings require me to extend my truth-making over days, sometimes months. I must feel truth deeply in order to sustain a painting. There is so much substantial truth in these two drawings that I believe they are harbingers of great paintings to come.
Yesterday, one drawing to the next came with additional clarity. Forward in knowing came by acceptance of backward knowledge that I had been unable to fully bring into my art-making. I am getting closer to fully stripping away my preconceptions and bias. The drawings I show you here are listed in reverse of their making, last-made to first-made; this inform me that stripping did occur in this one day of being mindful in my studio. This feels very good!
As elegant as yesterday's drawing is, I feel it is missing an element I seek. More clearly: It is missing the center of the element I seek. This drawing lacks a nucleus! Perhaps I do recognize there is a nucleus within its negative space. Is that enough? I don't believe it is. I require a positive nucleus to feel my work has become appropriately and properly me. As example, I show you a work by my mentor, Philip Guston. In his most abstract period, Guston (unlike his buddy, Jackson Pollock), understood the need for a painting to have a focal point. All-Over is not conducive to viewer involvement. All-Over is a cop out; it denotes a loss of interest in topic (as abstract as that topic may be). The painting I show you below, by Philip Guston, has a title relevant to today's discussion as well: "Zone", The title is unnecessary because its relevance is in its obvious visual nucleus.
I returned to the first drawing made on 7/16/2020. I altered it. My present process encapsulates sitting, staring, contemplating my past work. I mindfully revisit. I ask. I question. I wonder upon betterment. Yesterday's results from this revisit/rethink process are these drawings, shown today. The one at the top of this page, yesterday's original one, looks back while moving forward (it resembles other recent drawings). The lower drawing is an enhancement of the drawing I first made more than a week ago. I am learning from myself. I am critically examining my drawings, also looking back at work done early in my career; I am looking for successes and failures. This is research. (FYI: If you are interested in my examination of my past work, go to CATALOGUE RAISONNÉ.
Now comes the confusion of the search. I will not promise you all good things, but I will promise an exciting search for the true and the authentic. Yesterday I made five drawings! Some better than others, some make more sense to me today than they did yesterday. Yeah, these drawings illustrate my mantra, "Two steps forward for every one backward!"
There is a certain moment in the Oeuvre of every artist I admire, a moment of transition, out of messy questioning and into disciplined clarity. This is my moment!
Continuity of methodology is a good thing when there is no methodology at all. No preconception made these drawings, no bias, unless you count the use of a rectangle of paper as a preconceived choice, which (of course) it is. The torture that is the difficulty of being within the moment, rather than dwelling on the pleasures that are assuredly accessible from the litany that is learned experience, never stops. In the end, if attendance to the moment is complete, suffering the moment becomes no suffering at all; it becomes simply that which is, that which is without anything except one's presence.
These three drawings look very different from anything I have done before. During their making I allowed myself to feel fully, to feel deeply, to be true to my integral, internal self. These are me struggling to decompose my knowledge. These are me struggling to be in the center of my lonely, unique intuition. I am making an effort to follow my center, step by unique step. My discipline is in each step; each step is as internal reaction to the success or failure of the last step. I am working hard to move without preconception, or bias. This is practice in being mindful. It is arduous work to stay centered in the here and now! These drawings represent a new beginning. I have begun stripping away preconceptions, bias, education, and Art History; all of my learned knowledge and learned behavior pollutes my mind; regurgitating past experience distracts from presence and personal reality. Practicing mindfulness means I am falling into my center; a center that only I possess in the here and in the now.
Paring down to the essential and the absolutely necessary is not an easy task. I am gonna do this. It is important because I have relied too long on complexity to overwhelm myself; distraction by tons of information comes easy to me. Within the overwhelmingness there is truth, but there is a lot of falderal as well. My job is to make truth. Truth is simple; truth is difficult to comprehend; truth is tough to depict visually. Truth is available despite the duplicity in every human effort. Self-deceit is easy; clear-eyed truth is difficult. Truth requires hard decisions. Deceit comes easily by slipping and sliding into the undemanding, the available, the comfortable, the entertaining, the sweetness that is momentary self-satisfaction. Yesterday's drawing is not the best drawing I have ever done, but it is a move in the direction toward simple truth.
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