I would like to declare the painting 2017 No.12 complete, but never say never. In fact, 2017 No.11 remains on my painting wall; yesterday I looked at this previously "completed" painting. Now I believe 2017 No.11 needs an alteration, i.e., removal of a little murkiness in thought and deed. I will probably give 2017 No.11 a bit of a re-do tomorrow. For now, I believe this one, the one in front of you, is complete. (A note about reproduction: That top border band of blue/black of the painting reproduced here today is darker in the actual painting. When photographing this painting I tried to adjust the lights that were used to illuminate the painting. In my adjustments I could now remove some of the surface sheen. Thus, the top border, which is darker in value, is reflectively grayed in the reproduction you see before you.) Please note the playfulness of the frame created by the dark border: it changes in value, as well as in width, consequently it also changes in its artifice of depth. This is new in my work.
Yesterday's drawing continues my query into biomorphic abstraction.
Usually I group my drawings into a gallery setting. Not today. Yesterday's drawings deserve to be seen alone, not next to one another. They are complex. I have often questioned the efficacy of complexity. At times I believed my work is too complex, thus disturbing the viewer. I do not believe that is the case with yesterday's drawings. Am I fooling myself? Am I getting away with murder? I actually believe I am defeating the coherent planer world, not murdering it. For the first time I feel my work is bolstered by the achievements of Paul Cézanne and Georges Braque. To show you what I mean, please look at the two reproductions of paintings by Cézanne and Braque (below my work). Cézanne and Braque has a propensity toward complexity, as seen in these reproductions of their work. Strangely, I do not feel "influenced" by either Cézanne or Braque. Their work supports mine without competition. They are who they are, and I am who I am.
Before I go, I should write something about the painting "2016 No.14", which is now in state 5. It took a good turn yesterday. It is in a battle with itself. A battle between structural complexity and emotional simplicity. It is being solved. It also is successfully dealing with my recent concern of Biomorphic distraction.
Last night, did not get to bed till 2am. Went to blues concert: "Tedeschi Trucks Band", "North Mississippi Allstars", "Los Lobos". Good stuff! 2am is really late for me. Today I am dragging. So won't write much. I do need to say... Yesterday's two drawings exhibit the dichotomy of my dilemma. Both contain forcefully three-dimensional forms, but the first is definitely biomorphic (looks like dismembered ant on box), while the second's forms are definitely non-biological. I greatly prefer No.2. Yeah. I'm learning.
Too high a level of biomorphism bothers me. I believe strong biomorphism forces the viewer to think of animals and insects and extraterrestrial aliens (as depicted in films), rather than clear-sightedly being involved with composition, color, and forms. I want the viewer to visually dive into my art, be consumed by its reality. I don't want the viewer to think about external references. I want them to be here, now. Is this possible? Not completely. We all live in a world of forms and color. Our references are demanding, both intellectually and emotionally. Those who find spiders an emotional conundrum probably see a spider in "2016 No.14" (although it only has four appendages). I see a form stretching itself, forcing the space into three-dimensions. I am hoping this causes spatial tintinnabulation, making the absence of form ring, as if the air itself is alive. This is me trying to enliven the third-dimension of negative space on a two-dimensional plane.
I continue to research the artifice of 3D space on the 2D surface. To my eyes, yesterday's drawings are more dramatically 3D than earlier efforts. Is this good, bad, or ugly? I will not answer. I do believe these drawings reflect deeper understanding. I am unsure if the biomorphism helps or hurts the qualities I wish to convey. I am also unsure if eliminating all reference to our biological world would allow me to move the image in and out of the plane as well as I wish. Questions, such as these, keep me going back, working for answers. Endless.
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.
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