Being an artist, a composer of visual compositions, brings social engagement and loneness of composing. Important is the balance of my social interaction and my private activity as visual creator. Showing my work is exhilarating, very social. Exhibiting often overwhelms me, definitely distracts me from creating. There is a great difference between composer and performer. I am more the composer; I enjoy the quietude of problem solving in the studio more than the sociableness of exhibitions. Exhibitions allow friends to see me and my work together; exhibitions bring critiques from strangers along with viewers who look silently. Through my observing my exhibitions instruct me on the success and failure of every work I exhibit; Exhibitions are about success and failure of viewer engagement.
Yesterday I had a chance to compose, to create, to draw. This happened after hours of re-framing drawings that came back from my Bromfield Gallery exhibition. I noticed the linen tape I used to secure them to the mounting board had annoyingly wrinkled the paper. The linen tape I used required water to invigorate the glue. I removed the water based tape, ironed the drawings flat, then applied linen tape made with dry adhesive. The annoying wrinkles are gone. Yesterday I did this to four drawings. Today I will do it to four more. Why? Because tomorrow these drawings are going up in exhibition at Converse Free Library (Lyme, NH). I continue to juggle my time between composing and exhibition.
My great affection for art-making is related to its probability of complete immersion; when making something of high personal relevance nothing exists except me and the art-object. It is glorious! Yesterday's drawing went that way. You know it when you see it. Look at yesterday's drawing. Its impact is immediate. It is exceptional!
I wish everything I made felt this right. It is by confluence of multiple factors that I achieve activity as satisfying as the making of this drawing: great energy, emotional stability, depth of personal insight — it is perfection in balance and sensibility!
The more I practice art-making the more often I achieve this totally satisfying immersion. It is akin to the practice of meditation. The more one meditates the deeper the insight. Practiced well, these non-verbal pursuits are similar — art-making and meditation.
I actually thought I was done with the painting 2017 No.7. Today's reproduction of that painting made me think again. The color value of the bottom right magenta area is too dark. Theres is very little change in that area from the previous state, but the left bottom corner did change a lot. A balance in contrast is now off. Conclusion: One more day of work on this painting is required.
Yesterday's drawing came fast and furious. Some days the juices flow in one place (the drawing), then I miss the mark in another place (the painting).
We walk around with our intellects and our emotional selves, intertwined, both needing satisfaction. For me, this explains the game I play in making art. I want to be fully satisfied, satiated. At the end of the day I want to be spent, no left over garbage. No tool unused. Such is the satisfaction of a good day.
The painting, "2016 No.15", feels spent. Give me a few days of looking before I am sure. Being "spent" means it says as much as I can say, right now. How do my worries about complexity, visual confusion, intellectual satisfaction, and emotional fulfillment, play a role in my declaring "2016 No.15" finished? This is a giant topic. I do not feel able to answer in one blog post. For a quick response to my question, Pablo Picasso's exceptional masterpiece, "Guernica", answers well. My being satisfied with a work of art is indisputably seen in "Guernica" (reproduced after my work). It is filled with forms, knocks you around emotionally and structurally, but keeps you balanced by a supremely centered triangle and by vertical, panel-like groupings on both sides of the image. In other words, when emotions are hot, passionately vomiting sentiment without solid structure leads to perplexing communication (think of an argument with your significant other). Picasso throws heat at us while keeping us centered. We are able to hang in there because of the balance, the intellectual calm of the composition balances the emotional outrage of the imagery.
I made great effort to reproduce yesterday's drawing well. I failed to get the subtle contrast play of the main form against the slowly changing light of the curtain-like background. This is a pencil drawing. The delicate grays of the pencil are lost.
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