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 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.
This drawing is a result of a marathon. Perhaps a marathon is a poor description of its journey; marathons take a little over two hours; this drawing took over 6 hours. My first question relates to its complexity: Is it too complex for the viewer to be immediately engaged? My second question: If the viewer is immediately engaged, will the viewer be entranced enough to hang in for this drawing's visual voyage?
The ultimate question regarding my art comes down to this: Are visual voyage marathons an effective means of communication? Or, do viewers prefer simple, direct, right to the point; i.e., give me a visual hit, give me a visual expression of emotion, give me a visual expression of intellect, but make it simple, go right to the point?
It can get very confusing. Knowledge is a strong, but power can distort possibilities. If power be fully followed, the consequences may not fall comfortably; the result may be incorrectly conceived. Failure occurs because power was allowed to precede knowledge; power has the ability to push aside a level-headed approach, thus diminishing the ability to secure a well measured result. Great art is balanced by perspicuity. With this I look at yesterday's work. I am insecure with it. The painting feels unfinished, not forceful enough; the drawing is a risk in value contrast and form contrast. Do they work well? Are they successful in engaging thought and feeling? I must think about this; both these works make me nervous. Or, is my nervousness merely a sign of the times I am living within?
Note on reproduction: Today's reproduction fails to accurately represent yesterday's actual drawing. The more a work of art relies upon subtlety to convey its ideas and emotions, the more the reproduction of it fails to impress.
The image I show today is simple and complex; it gives comfort in its clarity, it is exhilarating to observe its complications. But is it satisfying to me? It does not feel completely correct. There is something missing, something not-quite "me." It is organized well. It is simple, it is refined in organization, it calls for contemplative investigation; all that is all well and good. What, then, is missing?
Recently I have been looking at a lot of works by Francis Bacon, and I have also been studying many works of Ellsworth Kelly. Both stir my loins; I find both successful, effective, potent, and compelling. How, then, do I combine these two motives in order to make my art? This question highlights my current struggle to be free, to be me.
The struggle to be free is all about the rectangle. I have to fill that rectangle with notice. I have to fill it with emotion and intellect. I have to fill it with truth and authenticity. I have to make sense within it, thus allowing the viewer to make sense with it or without it. The viewer is outside of it, looking in. My images must engage immediately with immediacy. My images are becoming this, a reality unto themselves derived from all I am and can be. I have found freedom by acceptance of the rectangle's requirement of full frontal truth. I am now able to perform on the highest level of intellect and emotion. This is what I got, so here I am showing it off!
The cliché about the elephant in the room is upon me. Direct, emotive, head-on, purposeful slam and damn, is necessary; it is no longer possible for me to ignore. I have tried to avoid this elephant, this inevitable realization; my art has suffered because of my ignorance.
Yesterday's work recognizes reality; I accept necessity. Yesterday's drawing, and the changes made to the painting, "Amidst a Falling World," are actualizations of necessity. Viewer engagement requires the image be immediately recognizable; this means it must be without pretension. It must sit squarely, recognizably, in front of the viewer.
Nothing else need be true than this: each work I make should be made in an immediacy of purpose. Yesterday I got closer to this; you can see it, I can see it, in these drawings.
"Look!" I am becoming exceptionally aware of negative space; inside and outside of negative space reside emotions, power, profundity, and intellectual clarity.
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