The risk is this: Going it alone is lonely. I am following a path that is purely mine; therefore not treaded by anyone else, not ever. I am educating myself to see my way. This means I am alone in my endeavor. No one else sees my way; no one else has ever seen my way. Why would I expect anyone, except myself, to understand my means of communication? Yes, I am doing a good job of communicating to myself. I am revealing important information pertaining to myself. This journey is full of self-satisfaction. Yet, what I fully want and what I get are not quite the same. I want my work to have two levels of communication: (1) Revealing and discovering myself, and (2) Communicating to others so I can dialog about existence and universal human concerns. The risk, therefore, pertains to No.2. I have yet to get the response to my art that assures me I am succeeding at communication to others. This is failure. My success is me growing my self-knowledge; with every work I make I know more about my intuition, driving force, and reason to live.
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.
The painting, Seriously?, is being pushed toward atmospheric effects. I am dealing with so many disparate issues in my painting. This struggle to understand so many issues, from form to image to painterly, does not afford easy solutions. How does a form fall into a painting's atmosphere when local color must be decided too? This process is currently a push and pull activity. I am working hard to make it a natural process of pure flow, not ebb and flow! Can that happen? I believe it can. This is called working toward mastery. We all know mastery can happen. We all know mastery was different for Picasso than it was for Matisse. Please, hang in here with me. My struggle, to move toward mastery, is better endured if I don't do it alone. Thank you!
I am seeing and doing drawing with a new normality. This shift in norms is seeing with immediacy; being-in-the-moment, acting-in-the-moment. This discovery of prescience has also brought a different way I touch and mark. Perhaps prescience is not quite right, since this acting from foreknowledge is not simple clairvoyance; it is marking based upon immediate foresight. The foresight occurs momentarily before the mark occurs. In other words, I am feeling my way by reacting to the incomplete image on the paper that is in front of me. I cannot help but think that Paul Cézanne acted similarly during his artistic maturity.
Following an unknown path has its benefits, highest of which is surprise. This drawing is interestingly mine. Of course it has elements that are not-surprising to me, but a few things happening in this drawing are away from my recent concerns, which are more clearly seen in my recent paintings. In any case, I am back at it again today.
Three million strokes and counting.... Yesterday's drawing celebrates the marking of a white piece of paper with graphite from a pencil. Later yesterday, as I rested reading in my living room, my arm let me know it had been taxed. I had been enjoying finding forms, finding surface, finding space, finding light, and finding composition! This simultaneity-filled activity is a celebration of mindfulness. The more I do it the longer I can sustain it! This is "practice", as defined by veteran meditators. The Buddha would be proud of me! I have not obtained Buddhahood, but I am moving in that direction.
Shravasti Dhammika, a Theravada monk, writes:
The painting Seriously? is transitioning into a serious painting. I am not leaving humor behind. I cannot remove the beginning from the end. The righteous activity I am now doing on Seriously? is a celebration of my mastery. Mastery does not mean this painting is coming quickly and easily. Grand and eloquent cannot be achieved with quick solutions. The painting Seriously? shall be a celebratory example of my arrival as Master of my craft. Achieving mastery is laborious!
Art-making is getting to know thyself. As the English poet, David Hartley Coleridge, wrote, "Great poet 'twas thy art to know thyself and in thyself to be whate'er Love, Hate, Ambition, Destiny, or the firm, fatal purpose of the Heart can make of Man." Thus comes all art work that is worth more than a hill of beans. This activity does not reveal a Man quickly or easily, but it is happening to me and my art. The painting Seriously? will require much more of my time. I am getting to know it, as I am getting to know myself.
I like the twist in the largest form of yesterday's drawing!
So, a nit is the egg of a parasitic insect. What does that have to do with art-making? A nit sounds ugly and disgusting. Making art can be involved in ugly and disgusting, but I do NOT think of my art that way. I do, however, believe my many disparate efforts, especially in drawing, are parasitic by nature. After I have produced them (e.g., yesterday's drawing) they cling to my intellect like a parasite. They are there; they have invaded me. Going forward I will be aware of these parasites of ideas whether I want to or not. Yes, some of these nuggets are squished; I do try to discard them if I believe they are useless to me. I am never fully successful at denying their presence — thus the nit-likeness of them! All this is written because I am unsure if yesterday's drawing has a lot of helpful information for me. I define "helpful" as instructive in my movement toward self-realization through art-making.
Surprises never cease! Yesterday's drawing looks similar to nothing I have recently created. Yesterday's work on the painting Seriously? has expanded its dimensions (which is enabled because I work on a canvas tacked to a work wall — expansion further toward the edge of the canvas is afforded by an excessive amount of canvas being on the wall).
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