Here we are in 2019. It is the same. This is what I do. I don't know what else to do. My continuance is a result of my longevity. By living, and doing, I have acquired patience to outlast my frustration. I am confident. If I stick with this activity, this art-making, I will master it. Age has given me trust in my instincts.
Yesterday I listened to an interview of Philip Roth. To my ears, Roth's thoughts rang completely true. Roth said this, "[as artist] sheer playfulness and deadly seriousness are my closet friends." I fully agree. My actions, as artist, reflect my moral stake in everything. I have to get it right. I will not allow deception. I will plug away at art-making as long as I breathe.
The painting, Seriously?, is being pushed toward atmospheric effects. I am dealing with so many disparate issues in my painting. This struggle to understand so many issues, from form to image to painterly, does not afford easy solutions. How does a form fall into a painting's atmosphere when local color must be decided too? This process is currently a push and pull activity. I am working hard to make it a natural process of pure flow, not ebb and flow! Can that happen? I believe it can. This is called working toward mastery. We all know mastery can happen. We all know mastery was different for Picasso than it was for Matisse. Please, hang in here with me. My struggle, to move toward mastery, is better endured if I don't do it alone. Thank you!
The painting Seriously? is transitioning into a serious painting. I am not leaving humor behind. I cannot remove the beginning from the end. The righteous activity I am now doing on Seriously? is a celebration of my mastery. Mastery does not mean this painting is coming quickly and easily. Grand and eloquent cannot be achieved with quick solutions. The painting Seriously? shall be a celebratory example of my arrival as Master of my craft. Achieving mastery is laborious!
The miracle of showing-up is the miracle of mastery waiting to happen. Mastery does not mean the artist knows all he needs to know. Mastery means the artist has the ability to recognize the value of the stuff in front of him; he knows how to move upon it, create better out of the predisposed image. This means recognizing when something is incomplete (it can be better) and knowing when it is complete (the best solution given current understanding). Mastery means the artist can do his best on any given day. This brings me back to "showing up." It is a delight to enter the studio with this ability, knowing problems can be solved, things will get better and better. This is a plea for health and well being. That said, yesterday's improvement in the painting Adjective, and yesterday's drawing, are great steps in the right direction. I know it.
After sixteen efforts, the painting 2017 No.14 is on the edge of being finished. It is in these moments, just prior to completion, that my excitement runs highest. I having been chasing this game across the savanna; I have caught up. There it is! With skill the kill can be had. It is time to be careful and bold. It is time to pay attention to nuance and detail.
The drawing shown was made on January 30, 2018. It is claustrophobically clogged with rock-like bolder-like forms. Relief from this clog of forms occurs at the top of composition. It is masterful. I am beginning to accept my mastery as authentic.
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