Showing up is not enough. Recognition of appropriate spirit in the work is most important. This includes stepping back when proper insight in unavailable. There is an ebb and flow to self-comprehension, self-availability, self-intuition, and self-awareness. Recognizing this through the process of art making is the process of recognizing days of clarity and insight versus days of muddle and muck. Fortunately, though work, by showing up, day after day after day, the days with lack of clarity are few. I believe this to be true, but I also acknowledge there are days when I believe I am doing great things until I come in the next day, then I acknowledge more failure than success. This is the reason I believe in two steps forward followed by one step backward. Backward may be the wrong term, because failures lead to introspection, learning, insight; the stuff that guides to success.
Yesterday's drawing was filled with stepping back to query. I kept asking myself, "Does that make sense?" There are parts of this drawing on the edge of believability, like the circle-like shadowing seen in the right side of the drawing. The shadowing lies behind, and within, forms that produce an area of juxtaposition to the rest of the drawing's forms. It works spiritually. Is that enough?
The painting Along for the Ride is very close to completion. It has a major problem. It is in the lower left. It is not the composition. It is the color used to create the shadow on the orange object; it is too dark and does not ring true as representation of the shadow it suggests. This will be fixed today.
Once in a while a painting comes along that is emblematic of knowledge acquired/knowledge questioned. Along for the Ride is such a painting. It is immensely important to my oeuvre. I will proceed out of this painting with greater focus on my own intentions; intentions animated by deeply perceived original consciousness. I discover what I know through actions upon questions; questions that originate from the experience of my existence. Experience is compounded knowledge. Knowledge is a compendium of reaction to experiences; positive, negative, and neutral.
Do you see it? There is a quick fix in the painting 2017 No.14. The speckled blue and white rectangular area has been extended, more of it added to the right. I declare this composition solved. Does this mean the painting is finished? No; it will take a few sessions to shore up its details and nuance, e.g. the bottom of the painting was slammed in, thus it varies in value and color. This confusion is seen particularly in the manganese violet portion. I must re-work to insure I am confident the best of all possible solutions is found. At least the best possible solution I am capable of finding at this moment in my knowledge and understanding.
Yesterday's drawing tried something new. I believe it works. The central form casts a shadow, but it is an incorrect shadow, as least as to the reality that such a form would cast. I am talking about the arms the central object has, on its left and right. Those arms create no shadows on the diagonal plank on its left. Instead the shadow resembles an ace of spades symbol. This maneuver, present but false, gives a strong center to the composition. The strength is there because it allows a dark valued "V" to take over the center of the composition. A "V" is like a triangle. Triangles are always strong. We know this to be true in two-dimenional compositions, as well as supports that strengthen bridges and buildings. There is physics in visual compositions too!
I am never fully correct. I am never fully wrong. I am not Goldilocks. I can not get my images to a perfectly measured place. Perfectly comfortable is not available. I can, however, achieve nobility in my images. My images speak of Royalty, in the sense that they are here to stay despite their failures. I must accept them as the best I have, right here, right now. I like and dislike yesterday's work. Today I will push the best in them toward better.
My Inspirational Photo of today exhibits my love of brightly lit forms, and the shadows they cast. I do not like being in snow. I do like snow the look of snow when brightly lit. It demandingly darkens forms within it. Those forms cast elegant shadows, crisp and clear. Splendid it is to me!
State 20 of the painting 2017 No.13 was important. There will be a state 21. Right now this painting is a pinch away from finality. The only thing I question is the mid-portion of the dominant right form. I am wondering if the value of the shadow between the lowest snake-like form and its second-from-bottom portion is too high; should it be darkened? That, along with a few minor purifications, it will be done; will happen today.
Yesterday's drawings are vastly different from one to the next. This happens when I am anticipating transition to a new painting. What shall I do? With what shall I wrestle? A new painting will begin very soon.
I often worry I am too much into detail. I agressively search to find, thus I am overwhelmed by the activity of seeking nuance. Do I enjoy it? I do. Yesterday's drawing is full of finesse. It surprises me with its clarity of forms, its clarity in shadows cast (both by the forms on ground and on the surfaces of the forms themselves). Spatial play is animated by light. The forms are positioned by their surface values as well as by the shadows they cast on the ground. (We all know the white paper is actually as flat as flat can be.) Am I a dunderhead because I wonder too much? No, this is the intricacy demanded by sophisticated problem solving.
Purity and rightness are forever sought, but impossible. Acceptability is possible. Toleration of an image will allow me to move on. I cannot let 2017 No.9 go. The composition demands a few edges must be reconsidered. Also, full reconciliation of light and shadow is required. This is not a lot. I am OK progressing through ten states of a painting in order to tolerate it, thus finding peace so I can call it finished.
Yesterday's drawing is wholly realized. The minor forms play on top of a major form. I think the coherency of the light, as seen in the major and minor forms, is nicely perceived.
This is about the painting 2017 No.9. I don't know if you noticed. Yesterday the object with three orbs, in the upper left, cast four shadows. Today it casts the proper three shadows, That's better! I do not insist upon absolute correctness. When composition demands it I allow natural incongruities to stand. It surprised me more allegiance to normal visual reality was required. 2017 No.9 is better, but not complete. The foreground object continues to bother me.
Yesterday's drawings are interesting, but not spectacular.
There is a lot of art being made today that is plain vanilla. It is what is expected. Perhaps it has always been this way. The vast majority of artists have always repeated that which is given them. They follow the present day cultural norm. In many cases it is good art. It exudes the dictums of well known principles. Not every person can do this. It takes talent. Thus is the separation of the talented academic from the common artist. I am hoping I am not simply an academically talented artist. I am hoping I am the artist who sees the making of pictures as an experiment in wonder. Thus appears the risks I took yesterday. I am aiming at substance discovered, not substance known. I believe the painting 2017 No.9 is made as discovery. I have never seen anything like it before. It speaks truth to me. That is its importance.
Yesterday's drawing also surprises me. Even though it feels mostly made from formula. There are five standing objects. All on solid ground: normal space, punctuated by forms. In spite of this normalcy, these forms have interesting qualities. Each is well drawn. The viewer perceives all sides of them, even the surfaces that are in deep shadow, This is an academic success! It proves there is validity in art made mundanely. I may have written disparagingly of this kind of art in the first paragraph of today's post, but here is a drawing saying OK.
The only way I am going to achieve extreme quality is by delivering an extreme number of renditions.
I cannot satisfy myself. There is no way I can be content with any one image. Everything I make calls another question. Better, yes; final, no. May I live a long life! This said, I do like the work I produced yesterday. I am finding new ways to animate the canvas and paper. 2017 No.9 is calling for artifice of space, artifice of light, artifice of shadow. It is in light and shadow that this painting most interests me. The object in the foreground is a form requiring low contrast because I perceive it in shadow. The background is fully lit, begging for more light in a high value light source.
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.