Art-making does not come easy, or does it? My studio activity goes well. But I live a life of worry. Am I making sense? Within certain moments of time I feel great anxiety. Like right now. Does anything I make have importance? The search for significance is simply a search, a process. It is the process that makes life worth living, as says Socrates: "An unexamined life is not worth living." For the first time I understand this. Socrates is speaking of life as process because life without process is devoid of meaning, like a blade of grass, which doesn't care if it lives or not. It simply is. I want more than the simplest of lives. This is being human. I do not want life to be the same as foraging for food because I am hungry. Yes, I am hungry... for meaning. My making art is me foraging for self-meaning, for images that ring true, that communicate with myself and with all who view it. Thus came yesterday. It seems to me that a form that represents me, it having a place within the image I am creating, can substantiate an image. A form, substantiated by its presence, is a force compelling me to deal with the artifice of three-dimensional space as if it reflects my place in existence.
The journey continues. I am amazed; I am constantly surprised. My solutions are not discovered immediately, but require a funnel of time to get there. This funnel is a filter, filtering over days, not hours. The painting "2016 No.19" is better now than it was two days ago. This should not surprise me. It does surprise because I did not know the next step till yesterday. Yesterday's drawing is a good one. I am becoming myself. Today I feel awash, as if depleted and incomplete.
I hesitated to write anything today. Anxiety is here, but so is my confidence in the quality of this work, thus my feeling nonchalant as well. Working never rids me of anxiety. You can see this in the drawings. Each asks a different question. Confusion does not occur in the making, but it appears in comparison, one work to the next. Not so in my painting: I am obviously taking on atmospheric color. This came to the forefront in my previous painting, "2016 No.18".
What's it all about? I am certainly NOT stuck in a rut! I am driving along, turning a corner. The turn feels slow, lethargic. It does feel familiar. I am winding up, the tension in my rubber band of a soul is increasingly stretched. I feel taut, stressed, anxious, ready to jump. The coming recoil may not be pretty. My current work does not look pretty. Everything looks unappealingly unattractive. Yet, I am filled with optimism.
Yesterday's drawings are, in a simplistic way, exploratory. What can I do with that which I know? Is this craziness? I am more interested in the unknown than the known? Thus I explore, looking to push out of my comfort and into the revelatory uncomfortable. It would be healthier for me to revel in the simplicity of being, here and now. Would it not be better to be happy with the pleasures available to me? Am I a hero if I risk looking for the dark and dank? Or just a crazy idiot? Time and effort will tell.
Yesterday's drawings are me revisiting my past, questioning it. I realize I am paying for my past. I ask myself, "Of all those things I know, those things I rely upon for daily activity, what is good, and what is a hindrance?" Am I being impeded by that which I do automatically well? Repetition leads to habits, both good and bad. I have to separate those things which I do that help me decipher authentic expression from those things which I do that are habitually, prudently, cautious. Being circumspect means denying risk. Without risk, true self-awareness is unavailable. I do not want to rely upon tricks learned in my past. I want to walk openly, dangerously, on the creative tight-rope. Successful art is made by finding true ground. If I avoid going to places I do not know, if I tread only on the earth that I know, I will never discover the truth I do not know.
No matter how much I wonder if it is complete, refinement is always possible. The intellectual question is... "Does a little more refinement make the painting better?" In this case, I believe, "Yes!" Yesterday I thought I would move on to a new painting. Then I looked at "2016 No.13"; a little part of it annoyed me. I changed it. I think it better. But, for several minutes, before making the change, I sat there, in front of it, looking, wondering, "Will such a small alteration make it better?" I am glad I did what I did. I will not point the changes out to you, since I think my questions should be the same as yours. Then you may answer for yourself.
Yesterday's drawing took an interesting direction. I continue to wonder about the biomorphism of my work. In its extreme, it bothers me. I do not want the viewer to be so involved in references to nature that he/she misses my primary concern. First, foremost, I want the viewer to be wowed by the emotive qualities of the primary artistic elements: composition, color, form, space. Does yesterday's drawing do this? Or, do you, the viewer, first see a weirdly derivative animal on a pedestal? I'd like to know.
In yesterday's blog post I wondered, out-loud, about my needing to write about my art. In my conceit, I actually believed it might be speaking, lucidly, for itself. That feeling went away quickly. Mostly I just worry. Anxiety never allows me to go very far into calmness. So I am back writing about my worries. Oh well! I am better for it. I hope you feel the same. I worry! It drives me to the next idea.
To read my profile go to MEHRBACH.com.
At MEHRBACH.com you may view many of my paintings and drawings, past and present, and see details about my life and work.