Yesterday's drawing is exceptional and the reproduction does not do it justice. Yesterday's studio time did feel very good, in that it felt normal. It felt like a normal work day. Things got done, and done well. When it was time to go home it happened with peace and happiness.
The woman's head in the upper right of the painting will change today ― it is too assertively ambiguous. Perhaps making her head less assertive, but still ambiguous, is one way to examine. I'll try that today.
Am I supposed to know where I am going with this stuff? Not if it is going to make more sense then me forcing myself into a prescribed manner of behavior. That is not the reason I make art. I don't want to make art that represents that which I already know. This is about me discovering me. Yesterday's work feels like I did that right.
It is coming. I am not beguiled by yesterday's drawing, but I am enchanted. Enchanted, not by the end result, but by the process felt while making it. Elements are out of kilter ― in the man's head some of the minor forms don't quite fit into the overall form. And so it goes: I am in an exploration mode while realizing it is important for me to revisit all I have done over the last year and sum it up. I need to move toward a summation exhibition. This will help me move on to the more potently authentic work to come.
Just when I am getting there... I feel like I am just arriving... Like I have the strength to do it right, built from years of labor and exercise... BUT, the holidays begin this week, and guess what??? I will enjoy them immensely because of friends and family and good food. Although I am immensely gratified by the progress I have made, as exhibited in the drawing shown today, big and wonderful works of art utilizing my present strength of authenticity and ability, may not spill easily from me this week ⇰ My days in the studio will vary in time and intensity.
Making art is full of self-doubt. There is the constant desire to prove oneself wrong and right. Some days I feel like I know what I am doing. The stuff I make feels right; it seems to come out clear and well. Within those days of clarity I wonder if I am fooling myself. To prove myself wrong I return another day and do it again. And thus it goes...
Yesterday's work has an authentic feel to me. It flowed with clarity when I made it, and it looks right to me now. Finding truth when viewing for the second time does not happen often. I will enjoy it while I can. I will doubt myself soon.
Usually I begin with the image of the painting I worked on yesterday. Things went well everywhere, but the drawing was a bit more revealtory to me so I begin with its image. However, as I am beginning to understand, the drawings are made to inform the painting ― the ideas I have in my day's drawing are immediately used in the painting of the day. Like Henri Matisse, I firmly believe drawing is me warming up, as Matisse put it, "like an acrobat before a performance."
Today I show two images from yesterday (11/19/2013), both dated incorrectly as 11·18·2013. I will change them on the originals today. This brings me to another NOTE: I looked at the blog post from 11/18/2013 and found the reproduction of the 11·17·2013 drawing disappointing. I went back into Photoshop and made a second effort at reproducing it adequately. Take a look. I think it is a bit better, but my note in the 11/18/2013 post again spells out my continued despair over digital reproduction of fine visual art.
When I miss a day in the studio I tend to right myself by drawing. Thus there are two drawings from yesterday. I very much wanted to paint, but I ran out of time (and energy).
I have newfound controls, and I am able to make choices, that just a year ago I would never have thought of. This drawing shows a few of those, including the contrast of the man's head on the left with the darkened body of the woman. There is more, but today is not my day to contemplate art; it is, after all, a Monday, the day of the week I deal with the financial part of my life and art-making. Pooh!
NOTE ABOUT REPRODUCTION: I was disappointed with the reproduction shown above, so I used Photoshop again, in an effort to get closer to the dynamic range and subtlety of the original image. I don't know if the second try is better. I will let you decide. Once again I must point out that digital reproduction fails miserably. There is no way it adequately reflects the complex and subtle delicacy of hand produced visual art.
As this painting sits in from of me, in the studio, as it is now, I like it best of all its 14 versions. That is not to say this is it. It will continue to be altered, but the alterations to come will now move toward completion, rather than exploration. There is a problem with this. It is ambivalence. I like a few of its earlier versions. Those earlier versions did not fully satisfy, but they had value. Some more than others. Such are the vagaries of making art ― along the way as value is won value is lost.
There is something else that has happened with this painting. There has occurred an alteration in my work habit as well. Working consistently has its tremors and worries, mostly about one's ability to get the job done satisfactorily. Hanging in there with this painting not only altered it, it altered me. I now feel ready to go back and finish the undone portions of the many paintings I have begun over the last couple of years. I have enlightened myself sufficiently to understand the stuff that needs to be done, not only to finish this painting, Untitled-10·20·2013, but to finish the many that were begun before it.
I butt my head against the "try to improve what you've got" for too long. It's over. She's got to go! By that, I mean her head has to be destroyed and replaced. Her body has improved, and her head, for what it is, looks good on the canvas, BUT it does not work with the painting. That head of hers continues to sit so awkwardly on her neck.
At least yesterday's drawing was interesting, and not a waste of time. Actually, no authentic effort is a waste of time. All my failures with the woman's head in Untitled-10·20·2013 will now help me make this painting work. I have also gained some knowledge on how not to create the trouble I made for myself in solving this painting. This will help me solve all future paintings without the large degree of frustration I entertained in the making of Untitled-10·20·2013.
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