Looking back is not an easy find for the present tense. This painting, "Amidst a Falling World" (2020 No.3), has no easy precursor. It is a difficult delight. My paintings of this year, 2020, are coming slow, These paintings are measured in the making, come in great effort, rumble with difficultly, but are assuredly better than I have done before; more true to myself.
“Without work, all life goes rotten, but when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.” -Albert Camus
I could not agree more. There are days I enter the studio with lack of intension. Motivation is there; I want to do something. I resist soullessness. I cannot, will not, be stifled. You can see the problem. I am not dead. I do not want to die. So, I forge on, I begin, I make art! In actuality, I find myself through work. It is my way to link myself to this state of being. It is my work that recognizes my soul. This revelation enlivens. I do exist with purpose. Yesterday's drawings were invigorating. They revived me through disclosure. They exist as exposé. I am what I am. This three-dimensional compositional research I am doing is opening a floodgate. Here it comes, with many answers. It is my job to sort, to find the answers that confirm purpose to existence.
As if this Holiday Season isn't confusing enough — enter our house an odor so foul. Certainly from a mouse who got lost. I did not find him. Looking for him, cleaning up after him, took my day away. I am telling you this because there will be no post tomorrow.
Yesterday's drawings were instructive and important. I believe them to be high in quality. I also believe they are a prelude to my next painting. I feel I am in a funnel, rolling around, falling toward more accurate ideas. Through effort the solutions are more and more authentic. Clarification and authenticity are products of experiment after experiment.
I have been distracted by the demands of western culture's Holiday Season. It does not feel right. I have so many ideas, but my time has been limited by what, celebration? I want to live long and prosper. Perhaps I complain too much.
Big surprise today: I feel yesterday's work has great substance.
After a few days of distraction by social media (instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn), yesterday was a big relief: I was in the studio, humming along with my own problems. My problems are endless, created (as they are) by my intuition. There is no end! All I see is a vast landscape of possibilities. How can I get enough time to do it all, try is all? When I get the chance, as I did yesterday, I take one tiny step to unravelling the mystery. From self-observation: I am now painting without the burden of evident intellectual processing. I am now following a deeper sense of correct and authentic. This does not make problems get solved more quickly, but it does drive my work. Look what happened in yesterday's drawings! They are concise, spatially concrete. In the making I sought this, but also continually asked myself, "Is this the direction I want to go?" Asking, then taking the time to answer, is the reason making-art is a hero's journey à la Joesph Campbell (below, see quote from Campbell's 1949 book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces)
"Wherever the hero may wander, whatever he may do, he is ever in the presence of his own essence — for he has the perfected eye to see. There is no separateness."
Always! I am always searching for relevance — myself for myself and myself for my viewers. Today I will take more steps to integrate with relevant social media. For now, view these drawings. They are becoming more tightly composed as they become more complicated in their number and kinds of forms. I am watching carefully, as I am weary of complication. I want to be direct and honest. I want my work to have initial impact as well as a quality that demands sustained involvement.
Perfect reproduction is not the only impossibility. My continued problems with even lighting is obvious in today's reproductions of yesterday's drawings. You can also see the impossibility of absolute perfection in the painting "2016 No.8". I feel I am behaving more more like Cezanne than Picasso. Who am I to know? Looking back from here, it seems to me Cezanne labored toward perfection, which he could never achieve, and Picasso labored as an experimenter, endlessly playing with the myriad of possibilities in emotive expression. I believe I am trying to follow both examples: Obviously frustrating! It is a frustrating battle, this dealing with purity and the messiness of emotions. Yesterday's three drawings play in this spectrum, beginning with the emotional No.1 and ending with purity in No.3.
The new and different manner of approach, in my painting, is paying off. This one ("2016 No.6") is spilling out in a way similar to my drawing. It feels right. It feel better. I feel more in touch with the process of painting. The previous couple of paintings, Nos. 4 and 5, often felt uncomfortable in their making. Particularly (I believe) because of the under-drawing. The under-drawing sometimes made me uncomfortable, like paying attention to the lines in a coloring book. "2016 No.6" is being made far from that feeling. It is me drawing and inventing as I make the thing. Funny it is, that the method of approach is so very important to the authenticity of the process.
Yesterday's drawing is a good one, but reproduced badly. It is more harsh here, than in person. I have mentioned this before: the more subtlety within a drawing, or a painting, the more difficult it is to reproduce it well.
Is this what it's all about? Things present and things past? Of course it is because the future is never here. My search is as complex as I witness. I hope to find humor in it all because without humor a lot is unbearable. Not all. There is so much joy in Mudville too. Random as this all reads, please remember there are moments of mystery I wish to share with you. Now is such a moment. All I can do is live by being here being now.
Failure is always an option. If failure were not allowed I would tread too carefully, thus reducing the chance of accomplishing the substantial. Here I am, writing my blog, in the afternoon, away from the studio; this because a dentist appointment distracted me. That appointment took a good part of my morning. Dreadful, but necessary. Today I am going to write only a little. I want to be there, not here. I want to be making art. No promises as to the level of substantiality that today will produce. The mix-up in my timing has confused my natural energy because of the disruption to my bio-rhythms. This loss is a residue of rushing to and back and getting this blog written. In a few minutes I will finally walk into the studio at a time later than my body and my soul desire.
Critique of yesterday's work: Two very good drawings!
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