Feeling a lot in the making of visual art means pushing the possibilities that marks and forms allow; this is done in order to approach the craziest of emotions while sticking to the time-honored definition of a rectangular plane's ability to be seen properly by viewers. Communication is engagement; engagement would not happen if the images created are far afield from the recognizable. A viewer must be somewhat comfortable in order to enter, then explore. It is in the exploration that art is made and art is seen.
Yesterday's drawing is one more effort to bridge the gap between all that is known and all that I know and feel. I am working hard to keep myself, and the images I make, centered. "Centered" is full acceptance of me in the world. All is possible if I limit myself to real possibilities, not to a wish list based upon fiction and fantasy.
I do not feel good about the drawings. Something is amiss. They do not fit me well; they feel like ill-fitting clothes; too tight here, too loose there. These are not images I wish to project when out and about. These drawings do not illustrate me!
What do I want? I want to simplify my simple self. I need to make clear my feelings and intellect. These drawing muddy the waters that are my living blood. I want to be deep arctic seawater on a clear blue-skied day: crystalline blue, full of life, cool, pleasant enough to be inviting, straight forward enough to be understandable in intellect and in emotion.
Yesterday felt right and good; I knocked around my images, as one does when searching a wall for a solid stud. These images, the ones I show today, are solid. They hold their own, They have strength and dignity. They demand perusal. They give satisfaction. That said, the painting,"Clever Liars", is incomplete. It requires sheer work, mindful work, to reach finality. It is almost there; it asks me, "When is enough good enough?" In others words, its essence is true; I cannot get much more truth by adding nuance, so why continue to develop it? Here is where a discussion of perfection is relevant. Simple it is: Intuitively I feel the need to make each one of those bright, cone-like objects, truly lit, truly three-dimensional in feel — their surfaces must feel touchable, like an egg in a Chardin still-life (see below).
The drawing is complex, indomitably readable, pure in its contrast of forms, forms left versus forms right. It this gaslighting? Does it make you question your sanity? My intension is to educate, not to admonish, "Ultimate sanity is comprehension, then acceptance; Contrast is part of our social order!"
There is great contrast in these two drawings. The first (07/02/2020) is thick, slow-in-coming, heavy with pencil marks. The second (07/03/2020) is light, agile; made quickly, easily. I will not judge the value of either. I am in the midst of unfaltering self-discovery. I will not give up. The first drawing clearly exhibits my modus operandi. I am obsessed; I need to make sense of it all. In the midst of mindful action I am unable to stop myself. This relentlessness is a result of belief in my ability to detect, discern, make visually real that which is in front of me, surrounds, imbues with feelings and charm. This possibility is the incentive for my relentless journey.
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:
This drawing is a result of a marathon. Perhaps a marathon is a poor description of its journey; marathons take a little over two hours; this drawing took over 6 hours. My first question relates to its complexity: Is it too complex for the viewer to be immediately engaged? My second question: If the viewer is immediately engaged, will the viewer be entranced enough to hang in for this drawing's visual voyage?
The ultimate question regarding my art comes down to this: Are visual voyage marathons an effective means of communication? Or, do viewers prefer simple, direct, right to the point; i.e., give me a visual hit, give me a visual expression of emotion, give me a visual expression of intellect, but make it simple, go right to the point?
It can get very confusing. Knowledge is a strong, but power can distort possibilities. If power be fully followed, the consequences may not fall comfortably; the result may be incorrectly conceived. Failure occurs because power was allowed to precede knowledge; power has the ability to push aside a level-headed approach, thus diminishing the ability to secure a well measured result. Great art is balanced by perspicuity. With this I look at yesterday's work. I am insecure with it. The painting feels unfinished, not forceful enough; the drawing is a risk in value contrast and form contrast. Do they work well? Are they successful in engaging thought and feeling? I must think about this; both these works make me nervous. Or, is my nervousness merely a sign of the times I am living within?
Note on reproduction: Today's reproduction fails to accurately represent yesterday's actual drawing. The more a work of art relies upon subtlety to convey its ideas and emotions, the more the reproduction of it fails to impress.
The image I show today is simple and complex; it gives comfort in its clarity, it is exhilarating to observe its complications. But is it satisfying to me? It does not feel completely correct. There is something missing, something not-quite "me." It is organized well. It is simple, it is refined in organization, it calls for contemplative investigation; all that is all well and good. What, then, is missing?
Recently I have been looking at a lot of works by Francis Bacon, and I have also been studying many works of Ellsworth Kelly. Both stir my loins; I find both successful, effective, potent, and compelling. How, then, do I combine these two motives in order to make my art? This question highlights my current struggle to be free, to be me.
The struggle to be free is all about the rectangle. I have to fill that rectangle with notice. I have to fill it with emotion and intellect. I have to fill it with truth and authenticity. I have to make sense within it, thus allowing the viewer to make sense with it or without it. The viewer is outside of it, looking in. My images must engage immediately with immediacy. My images are becoming this, a reality unto themselves derived from all I am and can be. I have found freedom by acceptance of the rectangle's requirement of full frontal truth. I am now able to perform on the highest level of intellect and emotion. This is what I got, so here I am showing it off!
The cliché about the elephant in the room is upon me. Direct, emotive, head-on, purposeful slam and damn, is necessary; it is no longer possible for me to ignore. I have tried to avoid this elephant, this inevitable realization; my art has suffered because of my ignorance.
Yesterday's work recognizes reality; I accept necessity. Yesterday's drawing, and the changes made to the painting, "Amidst a Falling World," are actualizations of necessity. Viewer engagement requires the image be immediately recognizable; this means it must be without pretension. It must sit squarely, recognizably, in front of the viewer.
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