Yesterday's studio session began with this drawing. I completed it. Then I had to go throw my garbage away at the town dump. On the way, I turned on the car's radio. A virulent, and violent, onslaught on the capital building had begun. Our republic's center was being attacked by supporters of a very sick man. His followers were doing the ask of this very sick man. This was familiar to him, and to all of us, but its intensity surprised the rational minds in our society. This very sick man has continually asked his cult-like followers to do his dirty work, the work required for him to acquire power and money. Yesterday's turmoil was a quick burn, but it mirrored this very sick man's entire life. This was abnormal, this mongrel horde pushing our democratically elected leaders out of our society's designated safe place to manage our country, in peace and in war.
Yesterday morning, I entered my studio feeling very positive, in control of my personal ambitions and struggles. That felt right and good. Then midday turmoil distracted me, lasting into the night, as our country struggled to get back to the rational task of governance. Today I feel good again. It appears more people today see clearly, and correctly, then yesterday.
My drawing, here, shows insight into the play of space I wish to make fully embrace with my intellect and my emotions. I will return to the studio today. Today I will struggle more, I will work toward my ambition of complete self-expression.
Right my wrong is process. If I do not try I do not fail, nor do I succeed. I sometimes deluge my drawings with lines and forms. I am looking for directness, direct to self-expression. I come closer to right if I allow myself to feel deeply the appearing image. It is attention that is the problem. Mindfulness is not easily sustained. These two drawings appeared more clearly than those when I muck my feelings by replacing them with muddled technical searches, i.e., looking for compositional soundness, or whatever. These two drawings simply said "yes" to my feelings; I felt my way through them as I was making them. Success is being present, not looking back. Looking at a drawing is looking back, but if executed in mindful clarity it is a revisit to self-expression that is permanent.
The days go by. I work. I see more. I do more. My insights, my memory, my intellect, my connection to my emotional life, all are getting better, stronger, more lucid. This does not mean one masterwork after another are being produced. Everything I make is better than anything I created a year ago, even a month ago. Consistency is a hallmark of mastery.
Yesterday's drawing is excellent. It has fallen back into a complexity that makes me uneasy. When I get to the studio I will place it next to some of the works that make me most comfortable. Comfortable and high quality are not the same. This is me working to get myself all together now.
Staying alive and active is paramount. Things are a-poppin'! Invention as simultaneous to being is adamant. Steadfastly I draw in order to exude that which I feel in the moments of feeling and knowing. This is my effort to make the act of production a melding of intellect and emotions. The production is the physical appearance of things called art, drawings and paintings. I have unrelenting determination to make images that construct authentic representation of my innermost knowing and feeling. These art works are me seeking unswerving mindfulness. Yes, I am seeking self-expression at its highest level. I am resolved to make truth while in the act of making-art. This is practice in mindfulness, which, like art, can never reach its ultimate conclusion, its ultimate expression of pure truth and knowledge.
The drawings I show today occurred over two days. I celebrate these as two good steps forward.
I am revisiting the drawings of Willem de Kooning. My understanding of their sophisticated command of the rectangle in which they sit is greater than ever. Knowing is one thing, acting with one's knowledge is extremely difficult; making art is a task of extreme mindfulness. This is my trouble. This is my struggle. The three drawings I show you today were created as an act of mindfulness. They are the best I could do when I did them. This internal act becoming external image is the essence of art-making. I am making a great effort to watch the structure of my drawings become real in real time, i.e., real in terms of personal emotion and personal knowing. Watching the knowing become a real image is a transitory experience that is being there as each note is created for better and for worse. It is the act of reacting, putting right the slightly askew mark made before the one now appearing. Compositions grows as do conversations. Command over feelings becoming words is poetry in the making. Perfection of communication is the goal poetry, of the visual arts, and of music. Perfection of communication is never reached.
"Amidst a Falling World" is complete. There are multiple emotions involved in completion. It is death and life and learning and despair (over not knowing enough); it is an end and a beginning. It is informative, but sadly never as wonderful as I wish. Immediately upon completion my desire to begin anew is great. Everything fails a little, as well as succeeds a little. It is within the perception of failure that the next work begins.
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.
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