Yesterday's drawing: Pretty weird? Consider this: The drawing does show a flying balloon! Maybe I was thinking of that famous parade full of flying balloons, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Probably not. One thing I do know for sure: I have the ability to follow self-suggestive invention. This stuff spills out of me like rain from a dark cloud. Yesterday's drawing celebrates my acquired skills. Failure of technique is no longer an excuse for me. I can do anything I imagine. If I fail it will be a failure of imagination and/or energy.
Drawings from 6/7/2015, both are pencil on paper, 16X20 inches
It is like I said yesterday, and the day before. I am involved in a search for relevant material to paint. I am, as a contemporary artist, caught between two demands. There is my need to find and illustrate personal myths. Also, there is my desire to accept, and participate, in the freedom of formal solutions open to today's visual artists. I wish to make work that is historically relevant by moving the formal qualities of painting forward through cross-examination and interrogation. My drawings are helping me creep and strip and fall to a reality that is mine.
Drawings from 6/6/2015, both are pencil on paper, 16X20 inches
One of Paul Gauguin's most important paintings asks "Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?" I am in the throws of the same dilemma. This is probably the reason I have not painted for over a week. I am storing up questions. I am about to answer them through painting. My last two paintings are stones in this path ("Leap" and "Lava"), but they fall short. They are approaches. They are not an end-game. I know, of course, there is no end-game! But, we would not be fully human if we did not have the optimism to believe it possible.
I am not sure of the exact meaning of yesterday's drawing, posted above, but it could be two of me. The left guy is erect, confident, with large, open hands; he is strong and ready to go. The right guy is leaning back, leaning away, head sideways; he appears fragile with his small, closed hands. The right guy definitely lacks confidence. I am feeling very good about my artistic development. I will never be fully satisfied, but I am relishing the journey. I believe, for the first time, that I have gathered the necessary tools to do whatever needs to be done. I have reached a high degree of mastery. I have confidence I can achieve that which I can conceive. Through my art I want to interact with the world. This blog exists because I want to communicate. However, this blog's limitations are obvious. Therefore, I accept the necessity to engage in the business of art. I need to get my art out there, into venues that may be seen by those who are emotionally engaged in the visual arts. I also wish to make my art accessible to all and everyone. This brings me to today. In the past I have had many exhibitions, shown my work in important galleries, and been juried into competitive shows. During the past four years I have stepped back from that sort of engagement and I have been writing this blog, exhibiting my work here. Late last year I began to feel the need to step back into the brick and mortar world of gallery exhibitions. I put out a few feelers and applied to several juried competitions. Nothing happened. Call it rejection. So, today I begin to think as a businessman who happens to have visual art as his product. Every Friday I am going to devote time to this effort. Today is Friday.
It is beginning to feel more like contemplation and less like intellectualization. Yesterday's drawing shows me going back and forth between my contemplative-acting intuition and my question-asking intellect. The first drawing is me producing a casually flowing drawing, which ends with an intellectualized, verbal question. This conflict may exhibit problems that occur when the id and the ego are in combat. The second drawing is straightforwardly about combat. The transition from drawing #1 to drawing #2 may exhibit this mental confusion, but it may also be about the world's combative confusion. The strongly male component that instigates present world combat is apparent. Thus the extreme maleness of the figure in drawing #2. Artistically, the figure plays against an abstract background. This is more important to me than any contemporary, or classically mythological, message I am trying to convey.
BTW: Today's reproduction of the painting, Lava, is the closest I have gotten to the original. In yesterday's blog post, Lava's reproduction is too color intensive, i.e. it is more color saturated than the original.
Drawings from 5/24/2015, pencil on paper, 16X20 inches
One of the most important activities of an artist is admitting defeat. Another activity is trying and failing. Failing is not always about lack of ability, or lack of understanding. It is most often about trying to go places that are not familiar and that will never be familiar. Advice often given to young writers is, "Write what you know!" This is good advice for visual artists as well. Admitting defeat is more about admitting "a lack of emotional connection," than admitting "ignorance." Does that make sense? Let me be more clear. I am not ignorant of how bananas are made, but they do not instigate any important emotions in me. A powerful work of art can be made with bananas playing a central role, but I haven't done it. I admit defeat. Georgio de Chirico used them well in his painting, "The Uncertainty of the Poet" (see below).
To finish, the drawing I made yesterday exhibits information I understand. I have no bananas today!
Too late in the day. I have too little left in me to post more... suffice to say I am having trouble adequately reproducing the painting Asparagus. More tomorrow.
Drawings-03·14·2015 Nos. 1 & 2, pencil on paper, 14X11 inches
I was feeling lethargic and tired. There were two things that had soaked up my energy: my worries and concerns about being swept away by Jury Duty, and the painting Asparagus. This was followed by my worrying about my low energy level! Then came a plumbing failure, which is making our house active with workmen. There are other distractions too. But yesterday I did get into the studio to produce the excellent drawing I show you today. It flowed from me with sensitivity and finesse. Something like this, a drawing that flows easily and well, must indicate a return of real energy, mental and physical. I think it important that I use my drawing as a gauge of my true energy level. I should acknowledge the ease, or difficulty, that is reflected in my drawing. Accepting this as indicator of true energy is much better than the alternative. The alternative is me worrying that I have low energy, then fighting against the need of rest.
Untitled Drawings-02·04·2015 Nos. 1, 2, 3, pencil on paper, 14X11 inches
These images are from a couple days ago. The apparent life of this artist is one of wandering in search of methodology. Elusive it will always be, this methodology stuff, because that is not the reality of working in the moment. I have to react to the situation in which I live and work. I keep saying the same thing over and over, the same cliché, "The only constant is change." Everyday is different, so I practice my intelligence of reactivity. Like a football player running down the field with ball, I am practicing to be agile, to deal with anything that comes at me, beside me, behind me, in front of me. Yes, I want to continue forward.
I have made things more difficult for myself. I feel nervous and in a hurry, yet unable to rush. The nuances are insistent. My painting is calling for extreme attention to details. For instance, the blocks near the center of painting lack adequate contrast (light versus dark). Today's reproduction of painting Untitled Painting-01·06·2015, and all my reproductions, are imperfect. The more I attend to nuance the further the reproductions remove themselves from reality. Here is another "for instance": the background's rhythmic undulation of flatly drawn, mountain like peaks, moves from Pure Cadmium Orange on the left to Pure Cadmium Red Medium on the right, yet you can not see this in today's reproduction. I tried to get it right, but the complexity of the all the nuances present in this painting forced me to compromise to get this reproduction as close to authenticity as it now appears. There is no full success in reproducing art works on the web or on paper!
I am struggling to be open and free, but time is limited and insights are unlimited. What to do? I choose to struggle on.
Untitled Drawings-01·25·2015, Nos. 1, 2, 3, pencil on paper, 11X14 inches
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