Mindfulness is filled with humor. Too much reflection on one's origin, or one's end, lends somberness to existence. The fleetingness of existence is humorous; our existence is devoid of eternal consequence. I would be relentlessly somber without humor. I do not like somberness. Life's quickness contains glory, pain, and process. I am choosing to add humor. I will not be forever intelligent and emotive because I am a minute collection of star stuff, Big Bang stuff; I am basic matter and energy.
Skill is a curse. It is a responsibility. It opens enormous possibilities. It allows for successful communication. It is painful when neglected or used unwisely. Today you can see me questioning the possibilities of skillfulness; you can see it in the drawing I post today. In humor come my questions.
I also post a cartoon. It illustrates human misunderstanding of skill. True skill is rare. Skill exists because its possessor has expanded his/her consciousness. Using skill well allows for depth of meaning, but skill can be used badly to shallowly exhibit sheer bravado.
I did prepare a new canvas for a new painting. It is ready to go, and I am too! The drawings from the last two days tell me this: these drawings illustrate a direction I do NOT want to go. They are too static. Each develops compositionally around a firm set of forms. These forms give spatial direction, and solidity, but movement is restricted. I enjoy loop-da-looping within a rectangular piece of paper or canvas. Yesterday's drawing does drive the viewer from lower right to upper left, but then what? It is play, but in a static space. This is dull. It could be nice for a different kind of artist. Even Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) made static compositions at the bringing of his mature period (around 1920). Mondrian was the most staid and sober of artists, yet ultimately his static use of bars and colors transformed to images of great animation. I show you an early Mondrian (1921), and a late one (1944); see both below this post.
My great affection for art-making is related to its probability of complete immersion; when making something of high personal relevance nothing exists except me and the art-object. It is glorious! Yesterday's drawing went that way. You know it when you see it. Look at yesterday's drawing. Its impact is immediate. It is exceptional!
I wish everything I made felt this right. It is by confluence of multiple factors that I achieve activity as satisfying as the making of this drawing: great energy, emotional stability, depth of personal insight — it is perfection in balance and sensibility!
The more I practice art-making the more often I achieve this totally satisfying immersion. It is akin to the practice of meditation. The more one meditates the deeper the insight. Practiced well, these non-verbal pursuits are similar — art-making and meditation.
"Can you believe it, August is here!", said one newscaster after the next on snippets (from local TV stations) shown on the 8/1/2018 Jimmy Kimmel show. Here is my first drawing for August 2018. It is different, it is very good, it is a response to my working so very hard on the painting Along for the Ride. My acuity increases if I work in an extremely focused manner for several days, which I did with Along for the Ride; I made no drawings for several days! When my acuity peaks I prepare myself for a fall — a fall into exhaustion. I try to pace my energy, looking always for consistency in awareness. This drawing is a result of peak awareness, not exhaustion. Apparently I required an interlude before returning to Along for the Ride.
In one way or the other, I have been mentally away. I am back. I am up and running. I require mental vacations, self assessment. This is going to happen, not on a regular basis, but it is going to happen. It is a requirement. I liken this to the writer who turns a written page upside down, goes away, and returns somewhat later to read the poetry or prose with fresh mind. In my case it is with fresh eyes. It is a joy to return to the studio with renewed vigor and a multiplicity of ideas. Amazing they are the wonders of living, of processing, of problem solving. As one of my mentors said, "Two steps forward, one back, two steps forward, one back, et cetera, and et cetera...
Yesterday a friend told me that electric cars (Tesla's, for example) do not have transmissions. I didn't know. Never thought about it. I don't have a transmission either. After being on idle for a couple of weeks I am up and running. Feels good to be strong, healthy, and active. At last the painting 2017 No.11 is complete. Yesterday I placed a new canvas on my work wall; it shall become the painting 2017 No.12 (initial dimensions = 69x55.5 inches). I think yesterday's drawing is a prelude to the new painting.
Historically the latter days of summer, late July thru August, have seen me more contemplative than me sparking fresh ideas. This appears to be true in yesterday's work. First I made a new drawing (above), then I did a little fix to Drawing 07.27·2017 No.2 (below). Rarely do I go back and contemplate drawings from my past. I did yesterday. This is the mood I am in. I believe this is a gathering of energy and information prior to my next big creative period.
I am hoping to run. However, I am still learning to walk. Yesterday's drawing, and (actually) all the drawings of this past week, are me taking careful steps. One by one, they come slowly, carefully, deliberately. I am practicing. I am in search of the intrinsic and fundamental. Fundamental to me is form, pattern, compositional movement, variety, contrast, surface energy (created by rhythmic marks), and the dynamic of light versus darkness. This week has been weak on volume of works and the activity of painting. It has been one of low energy, but quality introspection. There is rhythm to discovery, invention, and creativity. I have great belief that living is filled with rhythm and rhyme. The idea that rhythm and rhyme can be mimed in art is beginning to be apparent in my drawing. At last! This technique of suggesting action, character, expression and emotion, by using only gesture and movement, is happening here.
Obvious to me, these drawings are prelude to my next painting, 2017 No.10. I intend to finish 2017 No.9 in the next three or four days.
Energy, or the lack thereof, crept up on me. The last few days have been days of me storing energy for the last changes that will be necessary on that marvelous painting, 2017 No.9. I call it "marvelous" because I believe it to be a masterpiece in this evolution that is my three-dimensional abstraction. I also believe there are many more to come. I have reached a place that is contact between me, myself, my intuition, and my painting. A flood is a-coming!
The painfulness of being an artist is doing this activity in loneliness. Feedback, good or bad, rarely happens, except from one's own introspection. The problem, the pain of this, comes from distrust of oneself. There are good days and there are bad days. Trust is high, or trust is low. Today I feel good about yesterday's result. I am not saying this is the best of all possible drawings, but I do believe it has merit. The sweetest part of this was in the making. Several times I believed I had misdirected myself. I had to pull a stunt. I forced the drawing back to itself, demanded (as it was) by its own self-revelation. I did it. I made the effort. It eventually made sense. It works for me! This is value. Now I have cash in my brain. It is the currency that buys intuition. I know more, I see better than I did two days ago. Seeing better means the quality of decisions are better because they are better informed. I took two steps forward. The strong feeling of loneliness will come when the inevitable one step backward occurs. I will get through that moment. Then, with effort, I will take two steps forward.
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