Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Giving life meaning.
Every once in a while I will catch myself "feeling" the lines I put down. There is no way to describe this feeling. It is similar to a trance like state. I did not have this when I painted the yellow rose. I did not have it when I did the sketch of my daughter. I did have it when I did the sketch of my son.
I tried to pay attention to the quality of the moment when I was sketching my son to figure out how I find that place so that I can return to it. What was going through my mind? How was I holding my pencil? What was I paying attention to? What was I doing just before I started. How did it end?
The answer: I was absolutely focused on the process. I was not concerned with the result. I was not concerned with my surroundings. I was not doing anything but responding to what I was seeing. That answer sounds so vague doesn't it?
Every drawing is a response to what you are seeing. Right?
Many of my drawings are a response to what I think I know about what I see. Others are a response to what I see when I allow myself to stop thinking about what I know. When I allow myself the opportunity to discover what I am looking at for the first time it becomes exciting. This is even more true when it is something I am familiar with, like my sons face. You would think that would be something I have memorized. Yet last night, it was as though I had never seen him before in my life.
This is no great secret. In all of the great drawing books there is a section about getting rid of what you think you know and learning to really see your subject matter. We humans have such a need to predict results, yet the best results come when we let go of what we think will happen next. I am not going to claim that this is the best sketch I have ever done. I will say that this sketch felt better than any I have done recently.
I believe that I will be come a better artist (and maybe even a better person) when I can stop being dependent upon my ability to predict results and start relying on my ability to see what is really there. I will have to be patient. This sketch happened after several failed attempts to represent what I saw. It wasn't until I had exhausted my attention to prediction that I found my ability to see. My sketch began to take on a meaning that could only happen after I stopped forcing it to mean what I thought it needed.
This isn't just true as an artist. This is true about life itself. How many times have I been in a conversation and predicted what I think someone will say? How many times have I passed up an opportunity because I predicted the reward would not be worth the effort? How many times have I passed up an opportunity because I did not notice there was an opportunity? It is probably a good thing I will never know the answer to these questions.
Just as important, how many times do I attach meaning to things that mean very little. I fall in love with a line that is in the wrong place, or a shape that is off. I will struggle endlessly with all of the lines and shapes around it trying to make them seem right. This is not just a bad habit in art. This also happens in life.
It is fascinating how good and bad habits translate in various activities. I have been very preoccupied with what I would communicate visually if I had the skill level to communicate it well. Perhaps it is more important to concentrate on what I could understand in my communication efforts rather than what I could tell.
Of course, the best of this group is the drawing of the girl that my daughter put in my sketchbook. I don't have to analyze that one. I just get to enjoy it.
Eternal Wait - I finally quit fidgeting with this one. It is #graphite on 8.5x11 smooth bristol board. It is nice to get something to a finish. No matter where I roam in media, graphite will always be my true love. I will be taking this to #Shakedown3 this weekend if you want to see it in person. #art #artist #drawingvia Instagram
Toxic - This is a journal entry before words are added.The topic of toxic people has been coming up in many discussions lately. This is how I think it would look if you could make a visual image. This started as a simple form study and ended up as this. #journal #art #artjournal #selfcare #toxicpeople #getitoutofmyheadvia Instagram
Number 3 in my quest to complete #inktober2017 I started with an ink wash and then used my Microns to accent the details. This is definitely an experiment worth repeating. It reminds me of the interior illustrations in books when I was a kid It is #ink on #watercolorpostcard #art #artist #drawing #illustrationvia Instagram