Symbolism and I go way back, back to my first impulses. I remember being in college, where I was studying Chemistry, but flirting with making Art; I made a painting with people marching up a mountain, marching to the top where a national flag was blowing in the wind. The idea of marching uphill, toward a national symbol, had much to do with the ideas put forward in John Lennon's song, Imagine: "Imagine there's no countries, It isn't hard to do, Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion, too." A couple years later I was an Apprenticed Artist in New York City, four years later I moved to study with Philip Guston at Boston University.
I believe I am returning to one of my primary impulses, symbolism. These two drawings are a step in that direction, they are symbolic moments.
No delusion; this is my hope. These two drawings are manifest my entire live in searching of the stuff I know to be true, true to me. The drawing at the top resembles a painting I did when studied with Philip Guston; I have come a long way since then. These drawings accept my natural impulse, my nature of seeing. Acknowledgement means a big step because I added my personal record of effort and learning to natural impulse; technical learning allows me to make substantial stuff my younger self could only imagine.
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.
The painting Untitled Triptych-08·13·2014 took a good turn, but the left panel continues to be awkwardly out of sync. In the left panel the upper right section, with its orange base and areas of yellow, is maladroit, clumsy, and out of place. I can see it becoming a linear pattern, perhaps a mirror image of the line pattern found in the right panel's upper right rectangle.
Yesterday's drawing came easy despite it sophistication. It took two to three hours of manufacture time. Complex images, spilling onto the paper more quickly, is a good thing. The success of this activity readies me for better things to come. It bolsters my confidence. The willingness to risk new directions is a consequence. It brings with it the belief I can find a way to make my confused impulses work on paper and canvas.
Yes, I am back painting after a week away from it. Last weekend I was at a family gathering. My nephew reminded me of a drawing from my past. I revisited that drawing yesterday by undertaking the same subject matter. I feel yesterday's result pales compared to the original. It lacks the imaginative impulse which created the first version. Yesterday's version is well drawn, yet proves you can't go back to the past looking for present day inspiration. I am a different person now. If the two drawings were compared, past and present, they would be descriptive of me then versus me now.
I did not spend a lot of time painting, as yesterday's drawing is large and took several hours to complete. However, I re-established contact with where I am artistically. There will be more painting today.
I see it, and I believe it. More and more glimpses of the possible are showing up in my work. As usual, my drawing leads my painting in its risk taking and, therefore, its discoveries. The drawing posted today does good stuff because I felt my way through it and did not resort to the stop and go of intellectual debate. This happened throughout this drawing. This is the process that is opening the cracks through which I see enormously surprising possibilities. By "possibilities" I mean the potential of my work to visually render that which I know and feel, and that which I wish to unravel and know.
Lately I have been leaving you will quite a few "relevant" quotations. Here's one more from Leonard Cohen's song, Anthem:
Ring the bells that still can ring ...
“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
Dr. Seuss was a great favorite of mine in childhood, and apparently his influence has not left me. I think today I will begin a drawing with "a shoe on a wall."
Take from it what you will, and so shall I... The lyrics to the Elvis Presley song (below) have something to do with me and the search in which I find myself engaged.
You ain't nothin' but a hound dog
I am not quite sure where I am or where I am going, but writing about it will not help. I need to keep making images. Today I will be back at it again.
Perfect reproduction of a drawing is not achievable (duh!). Both reproductions do not do their originals full justice, but surprisingly the one above (03·15·2013), the more sophisticated of the two, comes off closer to its original. More importantly, these drawings exhibit an openness to self-discovery and the natural impulse that drives my art-making. The language found in these drawings is an indication to me that I have a real possibility of finding my true voice. Wow, the wonder of it all!
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