This drawing took me the entirety of my studio time to complete! It obviously captivated me. I need to look at it and ask, "What engaged me so entirely?" Primarily, I believe the creation of novel forms pulls me it, absorbs me. I found an emotional connection as I created the head of this man, grating in its incongruity, its egg-like ovalness contrasting strongly against the spiking ground on which the character sits. Value contrast also interested; as example, his light-value legs move across the dark-value ground. Additionally, the stark white background, in its negativity and value contrast, actually dominates the composition! But, it is the artifice of touching forms that most engaged me: the scratching of the surfaces consumed most of my time: Look at the number of pencil lines it took to create every form, including the enormous energy associated with the marks that created the ground and those spikes. Those marks are me experiencing tactile sensuality. Each mark was made with a different touch. In some places the marks leave open, white paper, to instill a feeling of surface the viewer can visually comprehend, moving as it does, in and out, of the subtle light. This brings me back to form. I love to imagine its touch, like a masseuse. I am moving my way into it, around it, feeling its give and take, sensually getting high on it responsiveness to my touch. Yet, I have created a rather gross character. So the emotional Interconnectivity I feel is far afield from that which I would feel if I were inventing a nude woman. This character has meaning to me because of his shameless coarseness.
Amazing the process! I am never prepared for it. Just when I think I know what I'm doing my activity veers off the straight line. Not that I expect a straight line; it's just that I often feel as if I am on a straight line just before I get hit from the side, thus reminded there are no straight lines. I mean that literally and metaphorically. That which appears straight to the viewer is that which was made in reaction to the stuff already there. To hell with straightness. It is not a concern! The stuff is my concern! Stuff is baggage, and I am wary of baggage. Baggage can be an idea so complete in its retroactive creation that it makes no sense to be here and now. It is my job to accept the baggage that makes sense and throw out the baggage that deceives. Seeking truth and authenticity is the job, only accepting that which is current, the sum of all experience and all knowledge. So layers are made in life, in painting, and in drawing. I am working hard to make the tracks I leave on canvas and paper as authentic as I am, here and now.
With this mind, yesterday's work on Untitled Triptych-08·13·2014 took an important turn toward wholeness. It is beginning to make sense. Recently I re-learned the importance of being earnest and referential, at the same time. I did this through my drawings. (In this case I use "earnest" with its second dictionary definition: "a thing intended or regarded as a sign or promise of what is to come.") Yesterday's drawing felt invented in this fashion. As I laid down the strokes they were discoveries, simultaneously looking back and looking forward. Consequently, yesterday's drawing had a life of its own. As I have written before, it is in times like this that I feel more a mere conduit than a rational inventor. I believe that's a good thing.
Often I think my art is nothing more than the manipulation of the zero sum existence I live in. My efforts to make sense of the visual picture plane is analogous to the difficulty I have making sense of my existence. I am trying to find meaning and purpose by laying down paint and pencil marks on canvas and paper. There is no surprise here. It feels mundane for me to broach this subject. Questioning one's reason for being here is endless and has been done since humans obtained the capacity to be reflective. As I wrote that last sentence I asked myself, "Why do I dare put this thought out there? All of us feel the same." The answer to this question is important to me, of course, but I write it here because it is equally important to the choices I am making in my art. I am continuing my search to find a proper subject. I am seeking self-satisfaction and purpose. I am motivated by my search. The subject of my art is important to my self-motivation. At least that is the way I feel right now, since I do not fully comprehend my present choices. I do know the full development of form and space is important to me, i.e creating forms and space on a two-dimensional plane that appear three-dimensional. I know I represent people over and over again, and I often represent couples entangled in emotional responsiveness to one another. I am beginning to feel that my need to create three-dimensional form and space will be with me always. I am not sure if my present manner of depicting human figures is lastingly important.
I intended to begin a new painting yesterday. However, after completing the first drawing I found myself with just 20 minutes left in the studio. So, I decided to make a quick drawing. The result is above. Willem de Kooning talked about making drawings while watching TV. Setting his attention into conflict apparently released a portion of his mind. Otherwise he would have restricted the images in his drawings to a repetitive reissue of his previous manner of making images. Quick drawings, like the one above, may help me to separate my conscious mind from repetition as well.
The last four drawings have surprised me. They have a mastery, one after the other, which I have not seen in my work before. Rockin'! Yes. But, No, they are not there yet. Nothing ever will be. I listened to an NPR Fresh Air interview with the Astro-Physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is about to host a series on FOX TV called It is an update of Carl Sagan's influential 1980 PBS series
"But my favorite question is one that we don't even know to ask yet because it's a question that would arise upon answering these questions I just delivered to you. ... If you're a scientist and you have to have an answer, even in the absence of data, you're not going to be a good scientist."
Well, well, well. Surprise me and I am happy. Yesterday a new painting began and I finished the drawing I started on 12-31-2013. Both make me happy. Both have substance and acceptance. Why should acceptance make me happy? Because it has been a long time coming. There is a wisdom out there which says education can tie you to the past. Perhaps I have been a victim of that circuitous problem. Here I am, stepping out, following my intuition and my authentic self. This is scary, as I have not seen these things before. There is security in making a painting that looks like one made by Pablo Picasso. The world has learned to look and to see Picasso's work as valid and meaningful, and this includes me. So I am a little nervous as I give up the valid works of the past and enter the new realm of me, myself, and the authenticity of now. I must bear with myself, and I ask you to do the same.
There has not been a dog in my drawings or paintings for quite a while. This renewal of a priorly used image follows the emotional and intellectual reconditioning brought on by my recent absence from the studio. It also occurs thanks to the dog Kedzie, who visited me during the holidays. My work is firming up. Allowances for all things past are being accepted. Yesterday's drawing is an attestation of this acceptance. I am very optimistic about the work to come.
(Comment: I may go back into yesterday's drawing. The hand that rests on the forward man's head feels wrong. I don't think it should rest on the man's head, but should play independently within the space. You may not see this change for two days, as today is New Year's Day and I have other things to do. Happy New Year to you!)
After the mythological world of birds, eggs, baseball, and clouds I returned to one of my oft used subjects: a man and a woman in a room. Today's blog post title poses questions. Verbal answers don't matter. I'll work this out though my art. Everything I make is me. So there!
The quick and direct ways and means to a charity drawing got side-tracked for a second time. This drawing may be better than my first charity effort (Untitled-09·17·2013). What does this mean? It means I find joy, and meaning, in doing this. i.e. the invention of a mythical world with referential images. Now for a decision; the charity auction is Saturday September 28th and the drawing is due for delivery this Friday. It must be framed tomorrow. Which drawing goes to the auction block? In the end it does not matter, so I will let someone else pick. What does matter to me is the residual insight. Being knocked-off my supposed path in an effort to make a non-contoversial and easily understood drawing has given back to me. It has imbued me with insights worth knowing and assimilating. What goes around comes around.
It's good; pretty, pretty good. That's the way it came down yesterday. Today takes a different turn. In these waning warm days of summer I am off to enjoy the beach, so no post tomorrow.
I am happy with the outcomes of both of the things I worked on yesterday. Not only did the activity feel centered and right, there is also the benefit that each of these works has wrought: openness and possibilities.
Where are these figures? Not in space I has seen. No matter, they fall from me, but not as freely as rain. This is a lot of work, paying attention to intuition. Still, it feels right not to be self critical. Each day brings surprises. I am surprised at who I am.
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