Clarity can be good or bad; it is always informative. Yesterday's drawing is an example. I find this drawing neither good or bad, but amazingly informative. In its making I discovered I do enjoy touching every portion of the paper. I do enjoy making every mark speak as surface, forcing every mark to call out its position in space. Each mark, therefore, represents a position in the 3D artifice I am creating.
My art is, indeed, unique. It must be questioned. Is this the best I can do? Does this represent me? Am I engaging the viewer in a conversation about the here and the now and who we are? Does this approach make sense? I am asking, "Am I wasting my time?" Is my work valuable to more than just me? Doing it feels like mediation; it profits me. I want more. I want my art to be relevant to everyone. Touching everyone, with emotion and intellect, is impossible. Many won't pay attention; many are just not interested. A lot of people are preoccupied with other things.
I am strongly committed to the journey I am on. Again, it feels like meditation. As I make art, my thoughts come in/go out, new ones arrive, old ones depart; time is irrelevant; being is relevant.
Yesterday's drawing achieves much of my recent ambitions. It is classically centered. It hits the viewer head-on. It plays well spatially. It plays with contrast of forms and contrast of value; this image is static, yet demandingly varied; thus it causes the viewer to come straight in, wander, linger, and think. Still, I question, "Is anyone paying attention?"
Perhaps, just perhaps, I understand the direction my art is going. This is phantasmagoria. My art is beginning to express phantasmagorical experiences. My images are each part of a sequence that is the real confused with the imaginary. My images are like those seen in a dream. My dreams, like yours, are connected to walk-around reality, but are expanded through emotions and intellect. I do not recognize the places in my drawings and paintings. The painting, "Your Decisions Matter," represents a dream. We are hunkering down in our respective spaces. Our current world feels like a dream. We are waiting for the next shoe to fall. This is surreal. It is unlike anything we have experienced. It is not normal. It will never become normal. It shall pass. It has enlightened me; I believe it has enlightened everyone. Our entire world is involved. We live as one organism, fighting off the same foe. My enlightenment is expressed in a selfish manner; I make art. Through art-making I understand more about myself. I am asking myself this question, "What things are really worth making?" The images I am making require the viewer to cease security, cease personal realms of seeing. Come with me into a place whose space is not normal, where one can live without the stresses of reality. Give into my images and you shall know more. The sights you live with, those you see outside of these images, are limited to your personal reality. These images are a world unto themselves; these images are like you; they are individual expressions. Each expresses itself as itself. Each of you express yourself as yourself. You are all different. My images are all different. The measure of my art's success is self-enlightenment; do you know more after viewing them? If my art succeeds, you will understand more about yourself, you will understand more about here, now, and each step you choose as you go forward.
There is a very important take-away to the botched response by the Republican political leaders to all things present tense. Currently they have botched the response to the Coronavirus outbreak. The Republicans leading this country behave like Bullies on a playground; always present tense, always self-centered; they are no good at planning ahead; To Republicans, power now is more important than a future that is secure, healthy, and economically sound. Led by their leader, they call-out derogatory names at those who plan ahead; they derogatorily label ideas as nonsense if those ideas differ from Republican policies; Republicans ideas must immediately ingratiate and benefit Republicans. Republicans choose not to plan ahead. They doubt Global Warming is occurring. They think tax cuts fix economic problems. Earlier this year their leader said the Covid-19 outbreak would "simply go away" and "don't worry." Some may call such bullying "street smarts"; actually it is idiotic planning. The earth is warming; a catastrophe is coming if we do not immediately do something to mitigate Global Warming. Taxes have been so drastically reduced on corporations, and the rich, that our National Deficit is blooming to amazing proportions versus our GDP; future generations will pay for the Republicans lining their pockets with money from their huge tax cuts. And now, in the current moment, we are paying with our health and our lives; the Republican Administration fired the National Pandemic Response Team the day after they met to discuss preparedness for the next Pandemic; this happened in 2018, in Atlanta GA, at the Center for Disease Control (they were there at a conference organized to coincide with the 100th Anniversary of the 1918 Flu Pandemic).
My art is one of planning. Yes, I work in the moment. I make the best art I can make in any given moment; I always utilize my total body of knowledge. My plan is expansion of my consciousness; day by day I work. I am getting better. I am getting better because I accept reality, I accept my failures, I accept my successes; I build better stuff through reflection upon my successes and my failures.
The drawing I show today plays with many things. I continue to test the efficacy of my ideas; I test their intelligence and their ability to communicate emotions. Thus, in this drawing, you see competing spatial recognition on a flat piece of paper. There is drama in this drawing because it does not accept peaceful spatial coherency, nor comfortable consistency in forms. This drawing is just one question in the many questions I have been, and will be, asking.
The world feels queasy and uneasy. The drawing began on 2/26/2020 came to conclusion, but everything else in my life (and living) is up in the air, being questioned, is in search of resolutions. The darkness that is "Drawing 02·26·2020 (state 2)" is solidly frank; it speaks in a world in which light is sought, darkness abounds, but clarity can been seen — the forms within are definitive, edges are comprehended, the space in which its forms reside is known. This drawing is solace for the poor of spirit. Our spirits shall be redeemed.
The new painting, begun yesterday, remains unnamed. Today it will receive a name, one that reflects the state of my mind as I begin this new search for truth, clarity, and self-knowledge.
The drawing I post today exhibits an intellectual and emotional jump. Here are kinetics, here are all kinds of space, from three dimensional and two dimensional space to negative and positive space. This drawing encounters every sort of space a viewer can perceive.
An ancient part of us, a remembrance of things past, is shrouded by current events. Communication between souls requires our most ancient information become accessible, available to be perceived on the surface of our knowing. I strive to make our ancient knowledge as present as that known through the schooling of our intellect. Yesterday's drawing pulls a few triggers, ones that lie beneath the wave that hit the shores of my presence tense. I am diving, dumpster diving, into the food that others have passed off as distractive to their daily lives. I work in hopes of connecting the here and the now with the fullness of all knowing, past and present and the future I find as I walk forward, step by step. Look as you fall into this drawing. Through light and darkness, and because of the pressure that is a spatial drop, join me in seeing more than the simple gift of representational knowledge.
As wonderful as this drawing is, it is NOT all I want. I have been looking; I have been staring at my past drawings. I look, then pick out the ones I find most appealing. The more insistent the 3D spatial introduction the more I feel their emotive power. Today I will make an effort to draw from this need of mine. The 3D space you see in yesterday's drawing is minimal, it is not as robustly 3D-animated as I wish. I want the viewer to be pulled in; I want the viewer to drop into a place filled with interesting and emotive forms. The journey I am on to satisfy this need of mine is endless, but it is my journey.
Three million strokes and counting.... Yesterday's drawing celebrates the marking of a white piece of paper with graphite from a pencil. Later yesterday, as I rested reading in my living room, my arm let me know it had been taxed. I had been enjoying finding forms, finding surface, finding space, finding light, and finding composition! This simultaneity-filled activity is a celebration of mindfulness. The more I do it the longer I can sustain it! This is "practice", as defined by veteran meditators. The Buddha would be proud of me! I have not obtained Buddhahood, but I am moving in that direction.
Shravasti Dhammika, a Theravada monk, writes:
Sometimes when a painting like Weoman appears I think I am more like Giorgio Morandi than Pablo Picasso. Actually, I am becoming more unlike Morandi or Picasso; I am becoming me. When I write about being "like" an artist, I am referring to my interests, my concerns. It is becoming obvious to me that I am hyper-concerned with light as subject unto itself. This does not diminish my concern with three-dimensional form, space, and composition. Weoman is looking good, but I need to step back, pause, look, contemplate, make sure it is as good as it can be. There may be one or two more states coming.
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