End it is! Begin it is. Here is the final state of 2017 No.9. Glad I am here. I am ready to move on.
Yesterday's drawings were experimental, questioning my knowledge and intuition, perhaps as prelude to the painting I begin today.
Yesterday's drawings are tests. They are me philosophizing, stepping back and thinking, asking where should I be in this art-making crowded by choices. Simplicity is nice, comfortable, but not long lasting. I vote No.1 as best for me. Best for me because it satisfies me most. It keeps me engaged in more than a moment. It is a series of moments in visual form.
Yesterday's drawings are me testing, searching to find clarity in direction. Not so much! These are interesting in their contrast, and in questions they ask. New stuff today!
As if this Holiday Season isn't confusing enough — enter our house an odor so foul. Certainly from a mouse who got lost. I did not find him. Looking for him, cleaning up after him, took my day away. I am telling you this because there will be no post tomorrow.
Yesterday's drawings were instructive and important. I believe them to be high in quality. I also believe they are a prelude to my next painting. I feel I am in a funnel, rolling around, falling toward more accurate ideas. Through effort the solutions are more and more authentic. Clarification and authenticity are products of experiment after experiment.
I have been distracted by the demands of western culture's Holiday Season. It does not feel right. I have so many ideas, but my time has been limited by what, celebration? I want to live long and prosper. Perhaps I complain too much.
I will never tell you I know exactly what I am doing. I am an experimenter. I try things and they work out, or they don't! I know things, or I don't! I think things, and I do! The painting "2016 No.9" is completely covered with paint. This is the first state, No. 5, that has achieved that distinction. Is it done? I don't know. I only know a lot of interesting things happened along the way.
Here are three works by an artist I admire, Richard Diebenkorn (1922-93). Diebenkorn, like me, went back and forth from representation to abstraction. BTW: I studied with James Weeks, a friend and colleague of Diebenkorn's, during my graduate studies at Boston University toward my M.F.A. in Painting. Diebenkorn and Weeks both are considered members of the Bay Area Figurative School, which worked around the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1950's and 1960's (Wikipedia Article).
What's happening? Am I getting smarter? Am I getting lazier? Me thinks I am moving toward simplification. This is smart. Not lazy. I will begin a new painting today. The last one, "2016 No.7", will remain as it is. This lack of labor is not negligence. It is acknowledgment, acceptance; my recognition that "2016 No.7" is as complete in its discovery as I require. I move on, to a new painting, to continue my process of self-discovery. So, no, it is not laziness. It is me racing forward with insight.
Yesterday's drawings were exceptional in their movement toward simplification. No.1 was made with a new tool, a graphite stick, rather than a pencil. I am trying new tools that dispense simplification. It actually makes sense.
Yes, today I am moving on. Done is "2016 No.4". Yesterday's drawing is a study for the direction I wish to interrogate and explore. I continue to enjoy looking at "2016 No.4", but its complexity makes me question its engagement with viewers, other than me. "Right?" or "Wrong?" are not answerable questions. It is the process that matters. "2016 No.4" is just one step in a journey without a foreseeable end.
The direction of my research and development is obvious. I am further examining drawing and painting as planar-insistent. This can also be said like this: I am exploring the actuality of the two-dimensional reality of a work on paper or canvas versus the artifice of three-dimensions that may be explored through the act of drawing.
In my last post I showed works by Claude Monet and Paul Cezanne. I showed three of Monet's works, exhibiting his move toward facade-like images late in his career. I remarked that Cezanne, early-on in his career, perceived the canvas as a two-dimensional object. I did this by reproducing a painting created by Cezanne in 1877. Today I show one of Cezanne's last works, made in the year of his death, 1906. Wow! It scintillates with surface marks, thus leaving no doubt one is viewing a representation of a 3D-landscape on a 2D-canvas.
Whoever thunk it? I am a continual skeptic, full of doubt. I doubted I would ever get here, near a conclusion to Painting-01·08·2016, even though I have been through this process hundreds of times. The basic rule: Hang in there and a conclusion will occur! I write this with caution, because there may be an additional touch or two coming, but nothing so serious as to alter the mood or composition of this painting. It is what it is.
Yesterday's drawings continued my query into both approach and subject matter. There is no finality in these drawings. If anything, drawings like these make me realize that I will never find finality.
I continue to fail at perfect reproduction — this too will forever be a problem! In today's reproductions you can see that both drawings were unevenly lit: A shadowing effect occurs in the upper left.
FYI: The drawing on the left was on slightly yellow paper, with a water mark visible in the lower left.
Usually I show the painting I did yesterday first, then the drawing. Not today! I find the newest state of "Crazy Love" problematical. It is in need of repair. Thus the drawing first, which is a good one.
"Crazy Love" is going through a grand transition, as am I. I am coming to terms with the figurative impetus of my soul, mixed as it is with a visually abstract, non-concrete universe. Yesterday's drawing began as a study for "Crazy Love", but it quickly took its own direction. Two remnants in yesterday's drawing refer to "Crazy Love". They are the heart and the distorted, ex-body head. The current ex-body head will be substantially repainted. I am also imagining (during this writing) the appearance of a second head in the bottom right quadrant.
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