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.
At this very moment, I feel sane. The world around me is in tumult; Covid-19 has sickened many of us, but I am good. My art is insightful in a time of confusion. I feel very good about my analytical abilities; I am challenging my norms; I am producing works toward my goals of wholeness, fullness, and comprehension. I cannot brag about excellence because I am in transition. I do, however, comprehend ideas that I did not comprehend prior to this moment; here is good stuff coming.
There were the Righteous Brothers. Here's a Righteous Image! More images like this will be a-coming; I have learned I relish direct, in-your-face, principled, irreproachable, and uncorrupted images. I have had a difficult time getting here. Discovering images like these is arduous; I am in the midst of arrival. Images are a-coming that will be easy to visually comprehend but emotionally and intellectually complex. These works will require the viewer to slow down, contemplate, have an extended life of involvement; living with images like these is necessary. Living with these works is like living with a mate; there is no quick way to fully comprehend the character of the being; slow, steady observation, coupled with slow steady contemplation, is required to fully understand.
"Clever Liars" is in state 4. Its needs are becoming clarified. Today it calls upon me to paint.
right·eous | ˈrīCHəs | (adjective)
Here and there I have done drawings that speak more loudly to me than others. In plastic sleeves they are placed upon my work wall. I look at them, day after day, over and over; slowly, v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y, I comprehend the reason the few speak more potently than others. I like yesterday's drawing very much. Yesterday's drawing does speak potently to me. Yet I cannot judge it well so quickly. I have placed it upon my work wall, in a plastic sleeve next to the other drawings I have found lastingly potent. It will take some time, slow contemplative time, before I know if it is powerful enough to be placed in my pantheon of most influential drawings. Yesterday's drawing is excellent; I know now it is excellent, but does it have lasting emotional and intellectual qualities. I seek tunes that forever sing deeply upon return upon return upon return. This one calls deeply to me right now. Yep, it is emotive. Yes, it is powerful in intellect and in strength of feeling. Will it remain one of my most meaningful works? Slowly, over time and many looks, I shall know.
This one is beginning to taste good. The painting 2017 No.9 is closing in on itself. Goodness and wonder are not easy, not casual. I dislike this difficulty. Questions always remain. I may drink wine to insure the strawberries taste good. Perhaps the other way around? I am never satisfied. How can I be sure there is not a better tasting strawberry out there? Doubt is discomfort. Acceptance is necessary. I think acceptance is about to happen. One more session with 2017 No.9 should do it.
Yesterday's drawing is a surprise. I did not see it coming. New forms appear when necessary. This animates me. Makes me go back for more.
Is that a cloud? Is that an abstracted man? I don't know. I had just under two hours in the studio to produce this one drawing. This is where I went. This is what I made! One thing is for sure, my "cloud"(?) is not vaporous, but solid. All my forms tend to be solid. Am I complaining? No. I am more interested in the solidity of existence than the vaporous and nondescript. There must be personal philosophical information in that statement!
This drawing took me the entirety of my studio time to complete! It obviously captivated me. I need to look at it and ask, "What engaged me so entirely?" Primarily, I believe the creation of novel forms pulls me it, absorbs me. I found an emotional connection as I created the head of this man, grating in its incongruity, its egg-like ovalness contrasting strongly against the spiking ground on which the character sits. Value contrast also interested; as example, his light-value legs move across the dark-value ground. Additionally, the stark white background, in its negativity and value contrast, actually dominates the composition! But, it is the artifice of touching forms that most engaged me: the scratching of the surfaces consumed most of my time: Look at the number of pencil lines it took to create every form, including the enormous energy associated with the marks that created the ground and those spikes. Those marks are me experiencing tactile sensuality. Each mark was made with a different touch. In some places the marks leave open, white paper, to instill a feeling of surface the viewer can visually comprehend, moving as it does, in and out, of the subtle light. This brings me back to form. I love to imagine its touch, like a masseuse. I am moving my way into it, around it, feeling its give and take, sensually getting high on it responsiveness to my touch. Yet, I have created a rather gross character. So the emotional Interconnectivity I feel is far afield from that which I would feel if I were inventing a nude woman. This character has meaning to me because of his shameless coarseness.
The conundrum is in the multi-faceted activity of making art. Right, wrong, good, bad — who knows, not me! I very much enjoy yesterday's drawing. Therefore, I question its profundity. That question, and its answer, are useless. Useless because trying to answer is fraught with bias. The pathway to the authentically profound is not determined by the formation of verbal questions and verbal answers. It is solvable through intuitive effort, not through quantifiable, intellectual thought. I choose to enjoy this drawing for what it is. I hope you will too.
Also, yesterday I did complete the expansion of my work-wall for painting. I am now able to tack up a canvas, then immediately begin work on it. The wall's expansion allows me to move a wet painting aside to a place on the wall which will allow it to dry, face up. This means there are two large spaces on the wall, one for the drying of paintings, one to work on a painting. It's like an organized factory!
I am honing in on the motivation of me. Personal refinement does not come quick and easy. I continue to be surprised that it requires such vast commitments of time, energy, and rumination. After all these years of effort my work continues to relentlessly brighten and clarify. My surprise may be a statement of naïveté. Is it just me, or are these images, which appeared yesterday, truly exceptional?
How do I know if something is better than it was before I altered it? Sinking into mindfulness is the only way. Mindfulness means acceptance without criticism. My mini-abstract era was fine and dandy, but I am more than that. I require more than that. The world requires more than that. STOP! I must not denigrate my era of abstraction (or was it an era of non-representation?). It was not fear, nor confusion, that drove me to abstraction. It was a quest for more mindful compositions. I will not promise myself that I will not do it again. The journey I am on is not pre-defied. It is my journey. I have no knowledge of my next step. I am here and now. I am being as I step. I am being swept away by my inquiry into who and where and why I am. This journey is not about doing. Admiringly, I do the dishes, but I will not do art. The journey is most important. I must not confuse myself by defining the where or there I am going.
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