The most important thing I leaned in making this drawing: I do not favor horizontal compositions. I prefer vertical formats, as did Francis Bacon, Richard Diebenkorn, Joan Miró, and Mark Rothko. Philip Guston preferred horizontal formats. Interesting; this implies a need to ponder.
There are multifarious ends facing me. One has immediacy. The idea of my mortality and eventual silence is the scariest. My here & now involvement in the End of the Year celebrations, and holidays, is the most demanding. I am a social animal, as well as a spiritual/Intellectual/emotional one. I have family. I have myself. Conflicts arise and overwhelm. Particularly at this time of the year, during this particular Ending. The process is not pretty; perhaps the outcome will be. I am trying to make here & now work well for me and for the people in my life, friends and family. I need generous amounts of time in the studio to feel comfortable with myself. Recently that time has been compromised, reduced by the many preparations to celebrate. Hopefully the celebrations will diminish my conflicts. Best I can expect is my memory will be altered by their success. I hope good memories will not make them too ugly to repeat.
Yesterday I made one drawing in one hour. It is informative. I want to pursue the simplicity of its central form. Soon a painting will come that takes this simplicity as most important. Look at the painting 2017 No.13 in reproduction. It is difficult to see it well in this small form. In the studio this painting sings. It is large, a width of 71 inches (180 cm). There are also problems in reproducing color and value. I made a postcard of 2017 No.13; its image looks cramped in a 5x7 inch format. To get attention, for people to wish to explore my art more fully, more correctly, and in person, I have to get their attention. This will be done best if I make a few works that reproduce well in small formats, such as on a 5x7 inch postcard... always nice to have a new goal.
One of the changes that appears today is the manner of reproduction. I began by taking the photos of my work in RAW Format, rather than JPEG Format. This increases the amount of accessable data, but also increases the amount of work I needed to do to prepare the images for publication. But technical problems of reproduction is not the reason I write this blog, so let me get to the important stuff. Most remarkable to me about yesterday's work is the portrait drawing, Untitled Drawing #6 (see below, then CLICK on the drawing to ENLARGE for better viewing). Thus my title. This drawing is emotionally more subtle than any figurative work I have done in the last month or so. Looking at art-making through the lens of abstraction has increased my visual-emotional acuity. I believe it to be one of the best figurative drawings I have ever made. It is filled with emotional subtlety and also with subtlety of light, form, and composition. This is proof I have expanded my emotional range as well as my formal range. My work is simply better in every way.
All drawings are pencil on 14X11 inch paper.
I know what I am doing, though it may not be obvious to you. My creative and physical energy ebbs and flows as response to the degree to which it was recently used. Last week was important in terms of the painting, Untitled Diptych-04·15·2014. More importantly, it clarified my intent. I am much more clear on the art I must make. I stripped away a few more of my delusions. That effort drained my reserves of energy.
Thus far this week's art-making has been slow. However, after last week's efforts I feel I have the knowledge, and ability, to successfully complete Untitled Diptych-04·15·2014. I also feel I know the next step I must take. This is very good. The problem I have with my current reality, i.e. the need to store up energy, is my distaste for waiting for my sharpness, intensity, and focus to come back. I prefer constancy. From experience I know the wait will not be long. That is reassuring.
Yesterday's drawings are practice, studies for my next major work, a triptych of paintings.
I continue to surprise myself with my own research. It is, indeed, the classic "two steps forward, one back." I am in the middle of a second step forward, so the inevitable one step back will not return me to the place I was before my current step. Yesterday's drawing, shown today, is incomplete. Notice its title includes "state #1", similar to desigations I give my paintings in-progress. This designation because it is a large drawing (16 X 20 inches) and it is is going through the same relentless, iterative process which my painting's enjoy. Yes, enjoy! This process fits me well. Such a large drawing allows me to enjoy the process for an extended time, but not so extended as to partake of the worrisome vexation which sometimes attends my making of a painting. There's no going back. I have put on a shoe that fits me well.
No, you can't always get what you want
But if you try sometime, you just might find
You get what you need
Being an artist is always making the effort to understand oneself. This is the act of "trying," as in the words from the lyrics of the song, "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones. Indeed, "you get what you need." What I need right now is to quickly examine and sort out the forms and themes of my art. In times like these I gravitate toward the quickness of drawing, but it is not what I want. Painting is what I want. Painting speaks more volumes of ideas, and it gives more to the viewer, and to myself. However, paintings take an extended time to produce, and therefore sit more in the realm of summative art than in the realm of inquisitive examination (though paintings are both, just biased or skewed toward summation, since they required summative skills).
So today I show yesterday's two drawings. I did not paint.
I am not promising anything to myself—not quality nor substance—just research. This will move me into painting today because the drawings are not fully satisfying the inquiry.
I will be out of the studio until Tuesday 08/07/2012. In the meantime, catch up by reading my older posts. Most fascinating is the development of the painting "Sight & Sound", which will be delivered to Long River Studios today. I urge you to visit Long River Studios to see this painting in its flesh, along with three of my drawings. "Sight & Sound" is 60 X 52 inches, so there are two major reasons its reproduction here pales compared to its reality: scale and color reproduction.
I will post again on Wednesday August 8th with reproductions of my work from 08/07/2012. See you then.
I lied. Many in the world do not act the way I am so desperately training myself to act. It is about genuine truth, and finding a way to constantly act within a groove which defines just that: authenticity! Yesterday's drawing felt this way. It is not about the image, but about using touch and feel in pursuit of the authentic. My job is finding reality by marking and erasing and marking again, a circular and iterative process continued until the product rings true. This reads like a cliché, but it defines my job. Writing down the idea of how it works is easy. The doing it, with consistency, is hard.
Here is the pep talk portion of today's post: It is time to carry the ideas set forth in paragraph one into my painting. Yesterday I prepared a 60 X 52 inch canvas. It sits, gleamingly white, on my painting wall. Today I will begin to make marks on this canvas, with no intention other then to act correctly.
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