Of these two drawings I prefer the one I began on 10/28 (completed yesterday). The other drawing is OK; it looks like I lost my processing edge. When I get tired I tend to look for a solution by use of form, rather than through composition. Compositional solutions are superior when the emotional tug-o-war rests upon the play of negative versus positive space.
"Ghost Town" is in state #7. It is getting better.
These drawings are arranged in reverse order of their complexity, not in their order of creation. Below is the latest state of the painting "Ghost Town."
What's it all about? For me it is about self-discovering my own organization. I have lived a life looking to quantify and qualify, to make sense of the confusion I was born into. I drifted out of a youth organized for me, i.e., childhood nurtured by parents, school, athletics, a science career, being educated as an Artist (Apprenticeship and an M.F.A. under the mentorship of Philip Guston). None of it satisfied me. None of it made complete sense to me. I was told what was seen as correct, not what made proper sense to me. I began organizing myself. It has been a slow process. I really did not know who I was or what I wanted. I decided to abandon the organizations that had been given me, those from outside myself. I began the process of replacing those outside organizations with an organization I had to make myself. This is happening, but very slowly. The process of me abandoning one organized activity after the next was easier than creating my own organized self. Now I am alone. I have to organize myself by myself. I have chosen Art-Making as my organizational process. The problem with this choice is the limits of my ability to organize myself. I have not done well. I believe I have failed because I have not accepted the absolute discipline required to make something fully whole, fully organized. Like everyone, I began with bare bone instincts, instincts I had acquired though education and experimentation. I know now I must choose wisely by choosing to follow the instincts that make most sense to me. Yesterday’s drawings made strong choices. During their process I had to erase bad choices and make better ones. Bad choices come easy. Good choices are hard. Good choices are ones that rigorously follow the basis of my personal instincts; they are the things that make me know “this is me.” Choosing those “good instincts” has not been easy. I must nurture this practice, this discipline of choosing wisely, choosing correctly. This is not easy. My following good choices has been very slow, back and forth, often taking the easy way before the hard discipline way. I have much work to do.
These two drawings are technically excellent. I believe I have too often neglected technique in search of message. No longer. My insight is this: A drawing's message is not as important as its technical success (same for a painting's message). If a Work of Art is technically a "Wow!", it will supersede, and succeed. Success is measured by viewer engagement. The higher the level of technical success the higher the level of viewer engagement. Witness to this are the greatest works of Art, from Picasso's "Guernica" to Velazquez's "Las Meninas" to Michelangelo's "The Last Judgement".
I have been busy reevaluating, examining myself, examining my Art. I am questioning by drawing, by making many drawings, each drawing a reaction to the drawing previous to itself. Today I show you about half of the drawings I made over the last few days. I am breaking my promise to show you everything I make. I would overwhelm if I did show you all my recent drawings. I show only my most important drawings made during the last few days.
My life is changing. I am rejecting assiduous, go-at-it-even-if-I-am-tired, relentless push, push. I am accepting do-it-till-I-am-used-up-for-the-day. "Used-up" means acknowledging “when” there is little joy, and also knowing “when” there is little creative insight left in me to give my work. These drawings, and the painting I showed you yesterday ("Ghost Town"), are products of my acknowledging that "when." I am happier. My work is better.
I think this drawing is a good one. Then I went back and made another drawing. Right now, that second drawing resides on my drawing board. It is not reproduced here. That newer drawing feels forced, tiresome, like I did it already. You will see it in my next Blog Post.
I continue to learn about myself. I beat good ideas till they are dead to me. They become tiresome. I need to prove I can do this thing, i.e., Art Making. Returning to revisit a good idea has a way of leading to tiresome drawings, ones that look too tired to prove anything.
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