Two questions are always there. When is there enough Information? When is there too much information? Every work I make asks these questions. Some get away from me; I answer nothing. Those that get away indicate I failed to understand. I fail to see. I have failed to be fully present, fully reflective, fully decisive. Yesterday I was filled with decisiveness. Did I succeed? Did I answer my questions. This morning I am uneasy. I look. I do not know. I cannot decide.
Sometimes when a painting like Weoman appears I think I am more like Giorgio Morandi than Pablo Picasso. Actually, I am becoming more unlike Morandi or Picasso; I am becoming me. When I write about being "like" an artist, I am referring to my interests, my concerns. It is becoming obvious to me that I am hyper-concerned with light as subject unto itself. This does not diminish my concern with three-dimensional form, space, and composition. Weoman is looking good, but I need to step back, pause, look, contemplate, make sure it is as good as it can be. There may be one or two more states coming.
Phil Spector, and his "Wall of Sound", has been in recent news. Not because Spector's work, as music producer, is exemplary, but in contrast to the magic that came from the work of the "The Beatles" music producer, George Martin. Martin passed last week. Spector did produce the last Beatle's album, "Let it Be". Martin did the rest and the best. Phil Spector has no influence on me, but looking at the painting "2016 No. 3", perhaps analytical cubism, as exercised by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, does. While I was painting I did not think about this connection. When I stepped away, looked at my day's work, it felt obvious. Picasso and Braque faced the same problem as I. How do you make a flat 2D canvas play well with 3D forms? (See one of Braque's solution at the bottom of this post.) This dichotomy, of 2D versus 3D, is an endless problem. Annoyingly, my concern for solving it, makes me feel trapped within the bindings of 20th Century Art when I am here in the 21st Century. I have to deal with it! That is what I tried to do with yesterday's drawing. I am following something deeper than Art History. I am following my intuition, born out of all I know and all I have lived, from education to my worse emotional experiences with my parents. Such is the stuff, and the grandeur, of making art.
Now is the time when nuance is in question. Does the change in the head of the bird in the painting "Wowie" enhance this painting? It is not just the bird's head that has been altered. The silhouette of the man, and the "ground", have also been modified. The alteration in the bird was called for by the alteration in the "ground", which was followed by the change in the silhouette. Of the ground, I am sure. Yes, but does this new bird's head improve the painting? I am questioning my decision because of this reproduction. Yesterday I did the same questioning while in the studio. I altered the bird's head several times, finally arriving at the one shown here. So, should I accept this version as correct? The problem I must answer is this: Can the painting allow this more demanding version of the bird's head? The only way to answer this may be to erase the present bird's head and try again. But, sometimes I walk into the studio, look at a painting and know, "This is good!" Stay tuned.
Yesterday's drawing is definitely a good one.
It can be a problem to be too serious in an existence that has its mystery of reason. Giving up being "serious" equates to making sense of "Why am I here?". This is important if clarity in personal vision is important. Since I believe clarity of personal vision is important, I will follow this formula: questions succeeded by possible answers. I am able to extract a sense that it is reasonable to exist because I am examining my questions by manufacturing possible answers.
Drawings from 06/24/2015, both are pencil on paper, 16X20 inches
Sometimes I wish my ideas would stay the same for extended periods of time. Is there happiness in stasis? All I know, as an outside observer of myself, is transition is active and alive. Everything I know, and everything I think I know, is open to question and change. Is this bravery, necessity, or foolishness? Perhaps a bit of each. Only time and work will distinguish actuality from the lies I tell myself.
Drawings from 06/21/2015, both are pencil on paper, 16X20 inches
It is making me very nervous. I feel I have lost the desire for routine. Routine is being replaced with acceptance of mystery. You will have to see this to believe it. And so will I. When I step into the studio today I will go from a warm-up with a drawing to looking for answers in the painting Tee-Shot. Warming-up with a drawing sounds like routine, so perhaps the loss I am writing about is me not knowing where I am and where I am going. It is acceptance of discovery in the here and now. My images on paper and canvas will no longer have definitive precedents. This is a strange mode of behavior. I have routinely looked to yesterday's work to determine the direction I am going. It does not feel like that any longer. Discomfort of unknowing is mine.
Drawings from 06/18/2015, both are pencil on paper, 16X20 inches
...to be continued... that is the mechanism of being, and the mystery of work gone right. It appears like the light of day, after day, after day.
It is important that you begin looking at today's work on a smaller scale. Then, click upon the images to view them in a larger format. The compositions are as interesting as their references to representation. These drawings were made by jumping into a pool so deep that no light gave me hints to its contents. Content was discovered simultaneously with composition. Today I will return to the newest painting, Tee-Shot. I will approach its making in the same way I made these drawings.
I am a man raised upon my intellect, and upon my physical ability to go fast and endure. Yet I am here. I am discovering, through fits and starts and stops and failures and successes, authenticity is revealed not simply by intellect, nor by the ability to call up physical prowess. I will reveal that which causes me wonderment and joy through mindfulness. This I know, because through profound failures, and because of profound successes, this truth has identified itself to me. Also, I hear this truth so often. This information is surfacing in many places. Today I was listening to a podcast with the man who has taught NBA basketball players to access mindfulness. That which he spoke is that which I am discovering. To hear this Podcast go to George Mumford, meditation master to the NBA’s stars – Kobe, Shaquille, Jordan – brings us his zen.
You would think this is the way it ought-to-be, all-of-the-time, but it ain't! I am having to grow myself into accepting that there are no pre-conceptions. I just need to show up. Showing up means something happens. No plans. No rigid ideas. It is the simplicity of now. If this is simple, why does it feel nerve-wracking? Well, I am admitting I do not know what I am doing. Not knowing is emotionally difficult. It is thinking on my feet, rather than knowing the course of the river. What is around the bend? I do not know. I do not care. I just show up. I just do. It is a surprise. It is self-teaching at a level far deeper than a book of words. There are no words. From whence it comes has not been tabulated.
Drawings from 06/14/2015, all are pencil on paper, 16X20 inches
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