A robust and heavy contrast took over my last two drawings. In a recent post I noted that my recent days in the studio have gone one way or the other, but no both at once; I am talking choice of media. I have drawn, or I have painted; never both on the same day. This is a recent separation of time dedication. The last two days were spent making the drawing I show today. No painting was accomplished; unless the act of painting includes preparation to paint (I removed the painting Burnt Norton from my work wall. I am in the midst of placing a new, blank canvas where Burnt Norton once resided).
In the drawing I show today the thickness of the black graphite had only once before been realized by me; that was in the immediately previous drawing (posted 11/19/2018), In these drawings I could not get enough black from my pencil! I stroked and pushed until the graphite sat on the paper like snow on a frozen lake; a little wind could move the flakes of carbon about in swirls!
Next time in the studio (tomorrow), I will begin a new painting (2018 No.10).
It is simply a great drawing. You have to see it to believe it! My work is hitting harder in all the ways art should hit a viewer. Yesterday's drawing is substantive; emotive in texture, emotive in form, emotive in composition, emotive in light and in darkness. One dictionary definition of texture is "the character or appearance of a fabric as determined by the arrangement and thickness of its threads." This happens in Drawing 07·26·2018, except the threads are replaced with pencil marks. Wow & Zow! Sticking with it makes sense. Even the most unlikely of avenues, when followed with ardor and passion, result in excellent results. I quote again Oliver Wendall Holmes: "Every calling is great when greatly pursued."
This time in reproduction I will let it go: The ground on the reproduction of yesterday's drawing is gray, not white, but (in reality) it is white. I use a very white 100% cotton rag paper (Stonehenge White). However, if I force this reproduction to have a white ground it appears harsher in contrast than it really is. So, I am accepting gray.
Weoman is in its 5th state. The wonder is the appearance of a solution. I have great fear when I begin a painting (Picasso said, "There is nothing in this world as scary as a white canvas!"). The reason for this is fear of inadequacy, inability, lack of talent, loss of mental acuity; All of that! Well, wonder it is that solutions do occur and I am the one making it so.
I had a dream. Its title was Collifocks & Hammers. What??? As mysterious as that is, so am I. Yesterday's drawing is absolutely marvelous. The reproduction here does not represent it well. Remember, I work in pencil on paper; trying to make the grays and whites and the darks (maximum pencil push) reproduce well, is impossible. The true and extreme nuance is simply lost in translation.
The painting Weoman (2018 No.3) is taking a marvelous turn. Marvel it is because I can see it coming; perhaps you cannot. Three-dimensional space is being created, summoned; during its next debate its depth will increase. The bottom left is asking for a plunge forward. It will be solved. Please continue to watch it unravel.
Running hard is not easy if one has been involved in showing rather than making. I feel rusty. That won't last long. Yesterday's work is very good; It just feels a little detached. Is this me? Yesterday's drawing is exuberant; it has the hard quality of contrast and space that I crave. This is not so true for yesterday's painting. I did fulfill a promise by beginning this painting, i.e., it is smaller than ones I have been doing over the last year. Consequently it will go faster. This is good for my introspective needs. It will also help me shake of this feeling of rust on the brain. Absence does make the need grow stronger, but it certainly brings surprise as well. Process is more confusing when I have not been in the routine of making art, day after day. My exhibit in Brooklyn swept me away. I must be emotionally tolerant as I return to my normal regimen.
The battle within me comes to this: I have a desire to push limits with bluster and bellow, AND I know following an idea is important when it sits correctly on the page. In other words, if something makes sense, go at it, unravel it, make it seen and known, stick with it till the idea becomes so apparently true that it must be followed, OR so apparently wrong-headed that it must be let go. Continuity is paramount, and should override my emotional need to be tempestuous and self-challenging. With this in mind, please look at today's reproductions of my work. I am hanging in there with the painting 2017 No.14, which continues to be enhanced and developed (this is state 18). Also, yesterday's drawing shows me hanging in there, continuing to investigate the idea that a symmetrical composition is an important requirement to keep the viewer's attention in a challengingly emotive work.
I must point out my new poke at humor in 2017 No.14. The white blobs against the blue ground give air to this abstract world. They obviously resemble clouds on a sunny day. Nice, warming, a real world reference that makes me smile.
Do you see it? There is a quick fix in the painting 2017 No.14. The speckled blue and white rectangular area has been extended, more of it added to the right. I declare this composition solved. Does this mean the painting is finished? No; it will take a few sessions to shore up its details and nuance, e.g. the bottom of the painting was slammed in, thus it varies in value and color. This confusion is seen particularly in the manganese violet portion. I must re-work to insure I am confident the best of all possible solutions is found. At least the best possible solution I am capable of finding at this moment in my knowledge and understanding.
Yesterday's drawing tried something new. I believe it works. The central form casts a shadow, but it is an incorrect shadow, as least as to the reality that such a form would cast. I am talking about the arms the central object has, on its left and right. Those arms create no shadows on the diagonal plank on its left. Instead the shadow resembles an ace of spades symbol. This maneuver, present but false, gives a strong center to the composition. The strength is there because it allows a dark valued "V" to take over the center of the composition. A "V" is like a triangle. Triangles are always strong. We know this to be true in two-dimenional compositions, as well as supports that strengthen bridges and buildings. There is physics in visual compositions too!
I have been writing a lot about making light pour itself on the viewer. Yesterday's work took a big step in that direction. I call it "Scintillation" (see the dictionary definition, below). There are ways of achieving scintillation in drawing and in painting. I am working on making it so. Over a hundred years ago Vincent Van Gogh and Georges Seurat worked in this direction (see reproduction, below). Here I am. History does repeat itself, just not in identical ways. I am an abstract artist, Van Gogh and Seurat were not.
scintillation | ˌsin(t)lˈāSHən | noun a flash or sparkle of light. • the process or state of emitting flashes of light. • Physics a small flash of visible or ultraviolet light emitted by fluorescence in a phosphor when struck by a charged particle or high-energy photon. • Astronomy the twinkling of the stars, caused by the earth's atmosphere diffracting starlight unevenly.
This is getting to be... yeah it is! 2017 No.13 is reasonably better. Learning continues. This is state 19. There will be one more state. Learning comes in two varieties: (1) Increase in the activity's global understanding, (2) Increase in knowledge that is specific to the object at hand. However, one kind of learning cannot proceed without both occurring. It is never one or the other, never just global knowledge or knowledge specific to the object. 2017 No.13 is currently witnessing more the latter than the former.
Yesterday's drawing continues my recent inquiry into left versus right juxtaposition.
Below is my return visit to a drawing from November 25, 2017. This is state 2. It is better than state 1. Follow your eyes and all gets better, as least in this game.
In my work, both in the drawings and in the painting, value contrast is heating, becoming more dramatic, larger. Is this a good thing? Yes, of course it is! Any challenge to norms results in better.
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