I have often wondered, "Why did I reject academia?" I chose not to teach art. This was, and is, a BIG risk. I have not been employed in doing the thing that is my career. Instead, I live modestly, with no BIG reward for living well looming in my future. The manner I approach art-making reveals the story of my choice. I am going it alone; I have rejected the academic. This kind of career is not a straight line — I am not making academic work in result or in process. I am a seeker of self-truth based upon the history of self-truth seekers, from Van Gogh to Cézanne to Matisse to Giacometti. The painting, Seriously?, exhibits this non-academic searching and seeking. It is wandering, state after state, to nothing anyone else could produce but me.
I have long feared complexity as possible harbinger of confusion. Yesterday's drawing did not tap into this fear. I felt control and clarity. Looking at this drawing, as reproduced here, I believe I did succeed in layering the complex, yet creating simplicity of comprehension. This drawing is about balance: balance of forms, balance of compositional movements, and balance of value and contrast. It works for me!
Purity and rightness are forever sought, but impossible. Acceptability is possible. Toleration of an image will allow me to move on. I cannot let 2017 No.9 go. The composition demands a few edges must be reconsidered. Also, full reconciliation of light and shadow is required. This is not a lot. I am OK progressing through ten states of a painting in order to tolerate it, thus finding peace so I can call it finished.
Yesterday's drawing is wholly realized. The minor forms play on top of a major form. I think the coherency of the light, as seen in the major and minor forms, is nicely perceived.
This one is beginning to taste good. The painting 2017 No.9 is closing in on itself. Goodness and wonder are not easy, not casual. I dislike this difficulty. Questions always remain. I may drink wine to insure the strawberries taste good. Perhaps the other way around? I am never satisfied. How can I be sure there is not a better tasting strawberry out there? Doubt is discomfort. Acceptance is necessary. I think acceptance is about to happen. One more session with 2017 No.9 should do it.
Yesterday's drawing is a surprise. I did not see it coming. New forms appear when necessary. This animates me. Makes me go back for more.
What's happening? Am I getting smarter? Am I getting lazier? Me thinks I am moving toward simplification. This is smart. Not lazy. I will begin a new painting today. The last one, "2016 No.7", will remain as it is. This lack of labor is not negligence. It is acknowledgment, acceptance; my recognition that "2016 No.7" is as complete in its discovery as I require. I move on, to a new painting, to continue my process of self-discovery. So, no, it is not laziness. It is me racing forward with insight.
Yesterday's drawings were exceptional in their movement toward simplification. No.1 was made with a new tool, a graphite stick, rather than a pencil. I am trying new tools that dispense simplification. It actually makes sense.
On a path... that is all I know. Going somewhere, don't know where. I will not know when I arrive because I will never arrive. I do know I feel more at ease with that which I know. I feel I exhibit that knowledge easily. I feel I am accepting that which I must do. Looking back is a funny thing. Not humorous, but amusing and mysterious. Go back and look at my blog posts from 2010. You will immediately understand my amusement. Was that really me? Yes it was. Most apparent by this reflection in that I am here now.
On Friday (January 29), my ART Business Day, I worked hard on a new set of Business Cards and Art Portfolio Post Cards. It was a 12 hour work day. The next day I had no creative energy (Saturday, January 30), so... I took a day of reading and watching TV-Series. Yesterday I did get into the studio. Like many days when I return to the studio after time away, I felt a bit foggy about direction. The result is a couple of playfully instructive drawings. I like them very much. It had been a while since I intensely foreshortened a figure. It has been a while since I had taken two characters and aggressively contrasted them in size and scale. Fun. I am still a bit tired. I am going to take tomorrow as a "Rest and Recreation Day". Today is my Money Monday. My next post will be Thursday, February 4.
This drawing was made on December 30, 2015. There is struggle in it. I have been away from the studio, thus there has been a loss of some self-knowledge. The end of the year holidays, and the New Year festivities, have swept me away from myself. That's OK. Returning will be very informative. It works that way. Getting to know oneself after an absence of selfish activity is like looking at a letter one wrote a few weeks ago. It will be apparent that things have changed, stuff has happened, I have been altered. I will be different.
Today I rest. Tomorrow I do my usual Money Monday things. Tuesday I will return to the studio. The RETURN happens on January 5, 2016! Look for my next Blog-post on January 6, 2016.
I spent much of Saturday November 21st looking at, then thinking about, the art of Peter Saul. I saw many of his works, perhaps 30 to 40, at the Hall Art Foundation in Reading, Vermont. It was a retrospective. A friend, who saw the exhibit with me, later called the work, "tawdry." I have to agree. The other person I saw the exhibit with said, "He is acting out, like a spoiled brat." I also agree with this assessment. If you do not know the work of Peter Saul look at the reproduction of one of his works at the end of this post
This brings me to personal assessment of my work. Yesterday I was tired. I limited my time in the studio. The work came easily, energizing me as I went along. I can say this: it bothers me that I do not make art like anyone else. Henri Matisse said something similar. However, it is the work I must do. My own work fascinates me because it is revelatory.
Now is the time when nuance is in question. Does the change in the head of the bird in the painting "Wowie" enhance this painting? It is not just the bird's head that has been altered. The silhouette of the man, and the "ground", have also been modified. The alteration in the bird was called for by the alteration in the "ground", which was followed by the change in the silhouette. Of the ground, I am sure. Yes, but does this new bird's head improve the painting? I am questioning my decision because of this reproduction. Yesterday I did the same questioning while in the studio. I altered the bird's head several times, finally arriving at the one shown here. So, should I accept this version as correct? The problem I must answer is this: Can the painting allow this more demanding version of the bird's head? The only way to answer this may be to erase the present bird's head and try again. But, sometimes I walk into the studio, look at a painting and know, "This is good!" Stay tuned.
Yesterday's drawing is definitely a good one.
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