What's it all about? Revelation has it own speed, apparently. Why can't I just be there now? This is about the journey being more important than the destination. Still, you can't blame me for getting impatient. Time and energy limits each day's impact. Is it crazy to be impatient? Or, rather, will impatience drive me crazy? With this in mind, take a look at yesterday's drawings. They are each their own, though No.3 is a response to No.2. I would like to love one over the others, but I don't. Each informs me in a different way. The robust forms contrasted to the little forms in No.1 are emotionally evocative. The limp propeller-like object drooping across the point in No.2 is gloomily downcast. No.3 creates space that I enjoy wandering within. No.4 is a landscape that mysteriously harbors a secretive form in the lower right, hidden, as it is, from the horizon and endless space over the ragid top-edge of the landscape. Each are different in their emotional references. This must be important. Each must open another door in the conundrum that confronts me, animates me.
It can be a problem to be too serious in an existence that has its mystery of reason. Giving up being "serious" equates to making sense of "Why am I here?". This is important if clarity in personal vision is important. Since I believe clarity of personal vision is important, I will follow this formula: questions succeeded by possible answers. I am able to extract a sense that it is reasonable to exist because I am examining my questions by manufacturing possible answers.
Drawings from 06/24/2015, both are pencil on paper, 16X20 inches
Amazing the process! I am never prepared for it. Just when I think I know what I'm doing my activity veers off the straight line. Not that I expect a straight line; it's just that I often feel as if I am on a straight line just before I get hit from the side, thus reminded there are no straight lines. I mean that literally and metaphorically. That which appears straight to the viewer is that which was made in reaction to the stuff already there. To hell with straightness. It is not a concern! The stuff is my concern! Stuff is baggage, and I am wary of baggage. Baggage can be an idea so complete in its retroactive creation that it makes no sense to be here and now. It is my job to accept the baggage that makes sense and throw out the baggage that deceives. Seeking truth and authenticity is the job, only accepting that which is current, the sum of all experience and all knowledge. So layers are made in life, in painting, and in drawing. I am working hard to make the tracks I leave on canvas and paper as authentic as I am, here and now.
With this mind, yesterday's work on Untitled Triptych-08·13·2014 took an important turn toward wholeness. It is beginning to make sense. Recently I re-learned the importance of being earnest and referential, at the same time. I did this through my drawings. (In this case I use "earnest" with its second dictionary definition: "a thing intended or regarded as a sign or promise of what is to come.") Yesterday's drawing felt invented in this fashion. As I laid down the strokes they were discoveries, simultaneously looking back and looking forward. Consequently, yesterday's drawing had a life of its own. As I have written before, it is in times like this that I feel more a mere conduit than a rational inventor. I believe that's a good thing.
Yesterday's diptych was drawn with both panels next to one another. I went back and forth, from one panel to the other, observing both concurrently. I enjoyed sensing their reactivity, back and forth. It was like having a conversation. Perhaps the two panels not only represent two people, but also represent the visual conversation between them. Like a conversation, the two images occurred simultaneously.
I hope to get into the studio today and work on Untitled Diptych-04·15·2014, but I may not because today is Monday, the day I deal with all things practical. If I do get some time in the studio I will also begin to plan a new large painting of multiple heads, gridded like a graph. Yes, I am being attacked by the graphic. When I think of the art that hits hard, with compositional potency, I think of graphically well designed work. In my 04/26/2014 post I mentioned the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Brice Marden. All the work of Andy Warhol, and Picasso's Guernica, fits this bill of sale. So do many of the works of Wassily Kandinsky. BTW: Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat thought so much alike, in terms of their sense of graphic composition, that they made several comfortably composed paintings together.
It is very sunny today. Last night the open skies allowed temperatures to dip -6°F. If I'm writing about the weather it's because I have little to say about my art. Yesterday's drawing was made after a tiring day of moving snow. The drawing feels routine to me. This drawing was made in the same way I moved the snow. Its forms were moved around until they gave relief from the confusion.
Today's title says enough about my optimism in terms of the near future and my self-discovery, so all I need to add is a cautionary note: be here, now! I am unsure of the hints and clues in yesterday's drawing — but they are certainly there.
You never know. The man in the painting has gotten bigger and more robust. I don't think this is just about the man in the painting. The invention in this painting is surprising even me. Robust is a good word, so is big, because this painting is important in it exhibition of my finding a way to be. There has been much work in my search for a true path, but making this painting has had more joy in it than previous works. It isn't done yet! I'm not done yet.
There are days when I don't know who I am or where I am. Yesterday was one of those days. So, I just did. Now this is about art, and not about my personal life, or my ability to reason. Things are OK in those categories. But art as metaphor for life implies I continue in my quest to know. Sometimes I wish I had continued to be a scientist, as that was an activity where I observed elements exterior to myself, rather than interior to myself. Seems easier somehow. The ocean is in front of me, not within me; it's easier to observe that way. This life as artist is very confusing. I am trying to take my time; not to hurry. Sometimes I think it was fortunate that Vincent van Gogh was unable to sell his art. It forced him to be his most important critic and his own audience. Yes, difficult and stressful, but it did lead to profound self-reflection. Consequently van Gogh's art speaks clearly, loudly, and personally, which, in terms of art, is the stuff of greatness!
It is not just about planting seedling trees. I am nurturing many forms of organic growth. Yes, there are the new seedlings (now numbering 35), but more important is my art, which is myself. As the trees use energy to deal with the third law of thermodynamics, so do I. It feels like me and the trees are winning; at least it looks like that from here. The drawings I show today have an organizational spirit which indicate an assemblage of clarity out of chaos. I believe I am going in the right direction. I believe the art I am in the midst of creating is finding my authentic pneuma. I know I am not there yet. Finding one's authenticity is one of the many things that makes life worth living. I am witnessing the glory of organic growth. It is creating form that expresses the glory of existence, and this includes both my art and my newly planted trees.
I am never convinced, never certain. Today's version could be better, the previous version may have been the best. Of all the visual forms and elements in the final state of "Drawing-04·23·2013" (state 3) some are probably better, some worse, then in the previous version (but I am not certain). It is an endless question: when to proceed to alter, when to call it finished? A frustrating part of my personality is my desire to play the game of a little change here, and a little change there, in pursuit of small enhancements (e.g., compare the alligator's teeth in today's version to his teeth in yesterday's post). This bewilders in life choices as well. At the fork in the road, do you go left, or right? I think Yogi Berra said it best: "When you come to a fork in the road...take it."
Yesterday's second drawing went well. It is smaller in size, and therefore my movement through it felt less risky. In today's post I am complaining about the pain of self-doubt. It is best if I simply move on, and follow the idea of another great baseball player: Satchel Paige said, “Don't look back, something might be gaining on you." Satchel Paige also expressed another thought relevant to art: "Mother always told me, if you tell a lie, always rehearse it. If it don't sound good to you, it won't sound good to no one else." To put this in the context of art, here is a quote from Pablo Picasso: "Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth."
To read my profile go to MEHRBACH.com.
At MEHRBACH.com you may view many of my paintings and drawings, past and present, and see details about my life and work.