Is heaviness important? I mean heavy, like gravity heavy? Pyramids are heavy! And here they are, appearing in my drawings, two days in a row. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. So is intuition. I do not know where these weighty pyramids are leading me, but it feels important. So goes the intuition.
Drawings from 11/01/2015, all 20X16 inches, pencil on paper
Variety is the spice of life. Yesterday's drawings are all over the place. Is this me being unable to choose a theme? Is this a result of laziness? It is confusion? Confusion can be misinterpreted as laziness! OR, is this progress? I'll go for the latter. Each of these drawings are complete works of art. Each is able to stand alone. Each has emotional authenticity. Each is a quality work of art.
Yesterday, while in the making, I did lack intense energy. That confused me. When I do not feel I am acting with recognizable energy I may actually be in a place of contemplative action, i.e. NOT lacking energy, but lacking full commitment to a potently available idea. This is me in a mode of seek and find. Amazing! I can not be sure that which I do as I do it. I do know now, the results are adequate and instructive.
What can I tell you? It happens! There are days when I go through the motions of art-making while feeling distracted by emotional issues outside of my personal concerns. Yesterday was one of those days. Conceivably, or surprisingly, this confusion is illustrated in yesterday's unusual drawing. The man in the left panel is obviously interested in the confusion in the right panel. The right panel contains, perhaps, a head on feet covered by something like white, opaque, plastic wrap — also a blade-like object penetrates it though its top. If this drawing speaks deeply about my emotional life, in my day that was yesterday, then there is a "golly!" and a "gadzooks!" in this revelation. Could it be that I speak intuitively even when I feel awash in concerns outside myself?
I wish it was simpler, but nothing can get around it. I need to make a lot of drawings in order to investigate the various possibilities that may, or may not, express my internalized view of existence. I am not even sure if these expressive images should be abstract or concrete, be figurative, or of referential forms. Yesterday saw me playing around, researching a couple of different approaches to solving this problem. What to draw? What to paint? These questions seem ridiculous. Obviously, I am enamored by the visual. So here's problem: How do I make art that expresses my infatuation with that which I see outside and inside of me? Yesterday there was a little success in this ongoing investigation. Yesterday's accomplishment is seen in the second drawing (#2, above). It is more about approach then image. I very much enjoyed inventing the forms, from the hands, to the shoes, to the weird bird that pokes in from the right. Spatial play also feels good to me. In my last blog post I wrote of seeking sweet satisfaction. I felt that kind of satisfaction most during my creation of the shoe on his right foot. Idiosyncratic? Yes! I enjoy the way his skinny leg thrusts into the bulky shoe. Mostly I enjoyed the many stabs at getting it right: drawing, erasing, drawing, erasing, drawing, et cetera, et cetera. It was an adventure, like seeking the proper path to get though a maze. I will follow this satisfactory approach as I continue my research today.
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My first mentor, Seymour Leichman, said often, "The primary job of an artist is to engage the viewer." Seymour did not mean this business of engaging those outside oneself supersedes the most basic reason to make art, i.e. self inquisitory expression. He did mean failing to pull the eyeballs of viewers onto one's artwork results in the loss of another primary reason to make art: Communication with fellow human beings. Recently I have been preoccupied with finding forms and compositional space which runs true to me and my anima. To some degree, this preoccupation supplanted my developing my artistic persona. Well, Seymour says, You got to do both! This new painting is me trying to do just that, both! I am making a strong effort to be in touch with the most forceful manner to engage the viewer, while simultaneously expressing my instinctual, intuitive concerns. Early in his career Pablo Picasso learned the importance of captivating through presentation. Picasso's ability to engage the viewer had great power. This allowed him to take tremendous risks in his creation of form, and consequently in his compositional manner of story telling. Seymour Leichman may have said it, but Picasso knew it, and did it, better than any artist I know. Both Picasso and Leichman are now forever in my mind as I make my art. "Best is Show" does not simply mean well drawn and well composed. It has to grab viewers, pull them in, and make them want to be involved in one's personal quest. It is showmanship, plain and simple. It separates great art from the mediocre.
What is it? Well, it is testing the play of negative space. It is also similar to a nonsense rhyme that manufactures a fairy tale. Actually, it is better described as me at play while seriously looking for a manner to make my forms on paper, and how best to distribute those forms on a flat rectangle. I like what I did with the feet in the lower left. The shoes read well and are nearly abstract. Enjoy! I did. I do. Thoroughly. That is unusual!
Having the ability to look back at the origins of Untitled-11·27·2013 can only amaze: The reality I was living in yesterday was so different than on the day I began this painting, i.e. 11/27/2013. Even compared to its previous state (#4) it is very different. Most striking is the change to the male figure, which now resembles a mild mannered boy, rather than a skeptical older man. This painting has certainly moved away from a theme of man/woman to man/animal observer. The color, and the dual nature of the atmospheric effects, will continue to develop. The forms within the painting require a lot of refinement. Then there is the firming up of the composition, which feels more like a splash across the canvas. It must become an expressively interactive space organized around forms, atmosphere, and color.
Yesterday's drawing was interesting. One thing for sure: the drawing is a study of the man's hair in the painting. Let me not diminish it to that alone (there is much more there than just hair).
Check out the drawing from 11/30/2013 at the end of today's post ― I fixed the items I mentioned as problems in yesterday's post... almost → I still get a paper shadow on the left side of the drawing, but the woman's right ankle is better. Better also in the painting Untitled-11·27·2013. In its 4th state it has moved away from my old theme of male/female interplay toward something more interesting (at least more interesting for this painting).
Yesterday's drawing is a replay of the previous day's drawing, but this time the man leads.
It is coming. I am not beguiled by yesterday's drawing, but I am enchanted. Enchanted, not by the end result, but by the process felt while making it. Elements are out of kilter ― in the man's head some of the minor forms don't quite fit into the overall form. And so it goes: I am in an exploration mode while realizing it is important for me to revisit all I have done over the last year and sum it up. I need to move toward a summation exhibition. This will help me move on to the more potently authentic work to come.
Is doing the same old thing repetition? No! My work is moving somewhere. I am following it with repeated themes, yes, but not repeated execution: times they are a-changing.
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