Today I show an incredibly rich drawing. It is a remake of the second drawing from 09/04/2020. I once was a Wunderkind. Today I am a laborer in love and mindfulness. If you doubt my having been a Wunderkind, visit my CATALOGUE RAISONNÉ 1987-91; those were my formative years. There you will see my first personal pictures, those made on my own, after I had left the mentorship of Philip Guston.
Yesterday confirms I have arrived. I am capable. I am able to make work that expresses the momentary me. In my early years I had found this too, but self-doubt, and my need to be more than an artist, had separated me from the quest for pure and selfish self-expression. I wanted to live fully, have children, have a great love, and teach the young. I did that. Now I fully return to my selfish quest to express myself. My recent drawings are marks in my journey. I am now taking one remarkable step at time toward being all I can be as artist and self-expressionist.
The painting, "Amidst a Falling World", will be exhibited at the prestigious 70th Annual A-ONE Exhibition at Silvermine Galleries in New Canaan, CT. The exhibition opens September 5, 2020. Yesterday I got extremely close to completing "Amidst a Falling World". A couple more touches and it will be complete.
My struggle to make sense of my personal vision has been mitigated by my efforts to complete "Amidst a Falling World". I understand better a means to represent personal clarity because I had to clarify "Amidst a Falling World". There is strength in simplicity. Yesterday I worked to make simple clarity available in my drawings. One of my problems is my sheer love of touch; my enjoyment of making marks has the ability to distract me from clarity; I enjoy making marks that represent surfaces, forms, and the representation of light on forms and surfaces. I get carried away, swept away, as I seek image though marks of graphite. Yesterday's drawing No.2 swept me into many more pencil marks than No.1.
I will paint today. Unfortunately, the two spaces on my work wall which are available for painting are occupied. Both paintings on the work wall require completion. So, that is today's task. I am inhaling, taking in my knowledge; I feel ready to burst; I need to begin a new painting! The practicality of finishing restricts me; I will hold my breathe, finish at least one of the two paintings on my work wall, then I will blow out strongly; out will come a new painting. The new painting will represent my acquisition of understanding, which (right now) feels very broad, very strong, and very full.
Yesterday's drawings are grandly excellent. I know this. I feel this. Yesterday's drawings exhibit great maturity. I am ready to paint with great maturity. Maturity to me means I know what I am, who I am. It is time to express myself with this newest of feelings.
Pablo Picasso is known for his precise language, as well as precision in his art. I agree with much of what Pablo says. (Below, see Picasso's take on the inherent blindness of art-making and art-interpretation.) John Lennon wrote, "Happiness is a Warm Gun." I say, "Happiness is a Warm Pencil." Do I draw too much? Making marks is addictive, cathartic, warm, and clarifying. My drawing makes sense of my reality; others may find my art blind to the discomforts that are present in our political and social world. No matter; I probe my own depths. I am wide enough, deep enough, to be eternally in need of work; I am preoccupied with myself; I am working to understand. The reward? Me knowing more the more work I do. Subsequently, I feel enlightened, optimistic, and busy. There is much to do; I am solving my own mystery, which is the result of the mystery that is the world I live in.
Yesterday's drawings are robust, clear, and confusing. They are like real-life.
Pablo Picasso on Art-Making:
When does simplification become too much? Am I simplifying? Clarity is an act of decisiveness; Simplification is an act of divorce. That which appears simpler is often more complex. Complexity is a measure of profundity. Simplification is a measure of ease. This painting, "Your Decisions Matter", is complex; it is profound, albeit simpler in color scheme and its number and kinds of forms. Mark Rothko understood profundity; he made, to the unobservant eye, seemingly simple paintings. I leave you with a great painting by Mark Rothko.
I never expect, but I do wish for, an easiness born of complete comprehension. I continually wish my actions to be born of comprehension, great knowledge, and great realization. I want to feel the elation that is comprehensive understanding, aha moments. It would be nice to instinctively know when to zig rather than zag, like knowing the required move to catch a falling projectile. In Art-making this does not happen consistently, nor easily. This is mindful work. The effort to understand simultaneously while acting is relentless and exhausting. Yesterday's work indicates I am getting there; I am comprehending more instinctually with every move I make. This is about acceptance as well.
I work. I wait. It comes at me. Insight arrives unannounced. Clarity surprises! Suddenly I am charged with a task. Like needles pinpricking my brain, there is insistence; I must clarify myself. This is a race; self-acceptance becomes intent. I act. I pursue reality. I know better today than yesterday; I recognize truth. This is not a lame game of truth telling, it is a spirited debate upon canvas and paper. Yesterday's painting is a sincere step toward unabated image clarity; it was just one step. I will be relentless because I have yet to arrive.
I have done a lot of work, tons! Yet the insights keep coming. New knowledge never dies of old age. Looking back, perhaps I have not been clear enough, direct enough, not as forcefully true as required to be fully communicative. I worry. Perhaps my art has been difficult to comprehend. Perhaps my previous work has been more complex than simply lucid. In comparison to older things yesterday's drawing are simply intelligible. These drawings go right to truthfulness, i.e., they communicate without distraction. My art is beginning to make complete sense.
Insight and disease are not mutually exclusive. However, this pandemic, this disease, this Coronavirus, is helping me see more clearly. Insight is upon me. I have slowed to a pace of inevitable knowing. Peculiar it is, the greatest creativity occurs in the most stressful of times. It feels similar to a bicycle crash I once endured. I lost control of my bike; I was speeding down a tarmac road; the road was covered in a glaze of sand left over from winter salt & sanding; during a turn the front wheel slid on the sand. As I spun and churned toward the tarmac, I made decisions on how best to hit the surface of the road; a fraction of a second turned into an extended time; I was able to make a creative decision to save my life. I pushed the bike away so I could roll, rather then remain beneath the soon-to-be horizontal bike to be forced to scrape myself to the bone. I was wearing a bike helmet, which cracked, but otherwise I had nothing on but a T-Shirt and thin nylon pants. I ended bruised, with minor scrapes. I am taking scrapes in this virus outbreak. So far, my loved ones, when infected, have recovered. Me, I may, or may not, have had the Coronavirus. I experienced a period similar in symptoms to Covid-19, but no test to verify.
Yesterday was an exciting time in the studio. I had insights a-many. I believe many past works were confused in purpose. I have a simple objective; I wish to express simple truths; I wish to express being here and now. In response to this realization, my drawings are becoming basic truths; these drawings are more simple than previous ones, more direct, more felt, more readable by their viewers. This time of stressful quandary is rewarding me; I am experiencing good within the distractions a world dominated by disease.
Fantasy and reality become the same in a painting. Such it is with the painting, "Your Decisions Matter". In this painting I see reality. I can feel reality; I also see fantasy. Big blockbuster TV series do much the same, like Game of Thrones. It ain't real; that depicted never happened, but it mimics, rhymes with stuff we know exists. That is the way my art is going. This painting, aptly entitled "Your Decisions Matter", is proof. I had to work many years to get clarity. All my work, the hundreds of paintings, the thousands of drawings, led to this. I know better who I am. I know better the means to express myself. This is reality. I feel safe. I can now come out.
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