Amazing has hit me — I am not religious, yet this time of year constricts my personal-time, reallocates it. Some of my time, the time usually devoted fully to personal endeavor, gets hijacked. It is given to family and friends. These Winter Holidays bring socializing, gift-giving, and well-planned generous meals. All nice; still I am conflicted. Interesting to me, the uplift caused by this sudden generosity in human spirit does filter into my work. Yesterday's blog-post spoke of playfulness and mindfulness. Recently my capability to play, to be mindful, has increased. These assets are important to living, to art-making; they have grown in me despite my having niggling Grinch-like scarcity of studio-time. Glorious it is!
That said, yesterday brought a return to a drawing made on December 13th, and a new drawing. Both are playful, but the new one more than the old one. I ask myself, "If I had to return to that day's drawing to make it better, where was my mindfulness on December 13th?"
The distractions in life that help make things work, but don't make me feel emotional satiated, are too many. As examples, there is the slowness of my internet connection and the holes in the side of my truck that need fixing in order for it to pass state inspection. I am dealing with those kinds of mundane things at the same time I am trying to make emotionally satisfying art, Yesterday was more the former, less of the latter. I did make one substantial drawing; I made it fast, it came easily. This drawing sums a few of my recent explorations. It makes sense to me in its play with 3D space, value contrast, form, and ground. More in this manner are coming....
I am back, big and strong. First, I was swept away by my solo show in New York City. Then I returned to a dirty and clogged studio. Over the last two weeks I have opened-up and cleaned my studio. I return today to a vastly more accessible studio; one that will allow me to make two paintings at once; a drawing as well. My intension is this: To be working simultaneously on a large painting (bigger than 70 inches on one side), a smaller painting (smaller than 36 inches on one side), while continue my practice of making one or two drawings per day. I have a need to progress quickly, to problem solve quickly. By having two spaces to work on paintings I can experiment on a smaller painting while unravelling the requirements a more complex larger work demands. I can now place two paintings side by side on my work wall. In addition, by removing all the old work that was lying around I have room for an easel on which to draw. I was reluctant to give up my studio time for clearing and cleaning activity. This massive clean has revitalized of my studio. It was the right thing to do. My work can now proceed more efficiently, allowing a quicker means to unravel my peculiar way of seeing. Two paintings at a time is better; one painting at a time was not enough. Yes, today I am back in the studio with great zeal and vigor.
Today I show you the final state of 2017 No.14 (which is reproduced here, in this blog, for the first time). This painting was completed in early March 2018, just before the opening of my One Brooklyn Bridge Park exhibition.
Never enough! This is the way I feel about life, time in life, available energy, being human. I creep because that is as fast and as furious as I can go. It makes me wonder about Picasso and Van Gogh. Did they produce more art per day than I? I do not think so. I think, however, they too felt despair over being human with its limitation of time and energy.
I love a diagonal in a rectangular composition. I found a few, in yesterday's drawings and in the snow off my porch (see below).
On days of confusion it is best for me to go with things I already know. There is some new in this drawing; there is some old. All in all, it is satisfactory. Looking at my yesterday, that is OK.
The struggle for time is constant and relentless. This is not very Zen of me. In other words, harmony cannot be found if I am involved with time. My personal lesson in this is: "Let it go!" Time is what it is. My doing is slow, filled with enjoyment, moment by moment. While doing I do not worry about time. It is during my "not doing" that I worry. The fear comes when I awake from my doing. When I stop doing I become aware that time has passed; I become aware I have not accomplished as much as I wish to accomplish. This distance between want and actuality is caused by knowing there is so much to do in order for me to feel complete. When I sit back, look at what I have done, I am aware of my lack of knowing; my desire to know. Time becomes important because I fail. This is not a good way to be. I am succeeding. That is the knowledge I must accept. "All in good time" is an old and true saying. I am becoming who I want to be. Simplicity must be accepted. I do not worry when I am in the midst of action. Let it be!
Please look at the drawings I reproduce today. The first is new, created yesterday during my limited time in the studio. Yesterday I had to take care of a practical thing, a machine in the home that required fixing. By the time I got to the studio my time was squeezed to barely an hour. The day before I had looked at my drawing from September 30, 2017; I realized it needed correction. That is the first thing I did during yesterday's studio time. Drawing 09·30·2017 is much better in the corrected state I show here. Bravo! With a few minutes left I created yesterday's original drawing. It is simple, direct, has few forms; it works! Lesson learned!
See below if you wish to know a little about Zen.
I will write as little as possible today... because I am running hard trying to catch this new year's demands. There is more than just art, you know? My art is going well, so even more reason to go and do it AS SOON AS POSSIBLE !!! One comment (I can't contain myself): the new painting is exhibiting a new-for-me, rolling across it, artifice of the third dimension.
Yesterday I complained about the season, the Holidays; too much time soaked from me, time going to things other than art-making. Well, these drawings aren't bad. So maybe my lack of time brings with it increased focus on the less-than-ususal art-making I am doing.
Perhaps growth and development is bent and strange and circular, like space-time warped within our intellectual, emotional cavity. Several times I have seen space-time, and time travel, described like a piece of paper that can be folded back upon itself. My mind seems to work this way too. I return, I warp, but always perceive myself as moving forward.
I began a new painting yesterday. This is "2016 No.17". It does not feel revolutionary, but happily summative. That which I know is realized. This is me sitting pretty. I think I am accepting the place I am right now. In getting to know myself I have realized this: My pleasure in knowing something won't last long. I will enjoy it while I can. I believe this painting will spill from me like water from an overfilled pitcher. I am releasing tension, the over-filled container that I am, by simply doing, nice and easy.
The work shown today was done two days ago. I have been distracted by the failure of an automobile. Yes, I am without a car in New Hampshire. The everyday life of things can remove one from the everyday life of the self. This thing that has failed literally drives me. It must be taken care of. This "taking care" removes me from the here and now. To decisively go forward I am required to take time, planning, money, and thought.
The work shown today is good. Both the drawing and the painting are exploring the centering of a form. These compositions have been built around a central form. My wife, she said to me, "I could have seen a circle there." Not me. My world demands a three-dimensional form, not a two-dimensional circle.
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