Tuesday, July 21, 2015

When an Artist doesn't Art

A strange thing happens when an artist doesn't art.

His mind becomes a swampy muck-ridden landscape. Imagine an empty bladder full of disassembled machine parts rattling around, breaking each other, scarring their container from within. Oh, don't get me wrong. It's not painful...but it is heartbreaking. It breaks his will, makes him question his decisions in life, his present condition where art cannot be engaged with to the extent it should be engaged with.

Irritation. Maximum disappointment. These things become the subjects of his rattled mind and he forgets a lot. He knows that he should find himself again. Make the parts in his head come together to make the machine he needs. But emotion arrives, in complete riot gear, to stop the advance of logic. He knows that he should logically be working on his art but his emotions beat doubt into his already detached mind. Don't even try. Don't even think about trying. Think about trying to think about trying. Yes. That's the best use of the artists time, the artist who doesn't art. He is broken. Wounded in battle. A prisoner of war where he is the torturer and the tortured. Mutilating himself from within himself, one hour at a time, every hour he is away from his desk without his pen or his brush. 

I can relate to the artist who doesn't art. It's not nearly as melodramatic as I made it sound but sometimes it gets really dark. You don't believe that there will ever be a way forward, or a way back. You feel stuck, moving sideways through time.

It gets dark.

But in a way, I feel that this experience is a rite of passage. This hard time of circumstances depriving me of the time to be at my desk working without distractions, it is what has really tested my mettle. I want to get better at what I do but how do I break away from my day to day chores to get down to business? Art in a busy world as full of paperwork, loans, consumer products as we have is not easy. To realize that there is a disconnect with your ideal image of yourself being the ideal art student working the ideal amount of time and the actual image of yourself is the biggest wake up call I have
encountered on my journey.

I've been the painter who didn't paint and the writer who didn't write. I have been the student who didn't study. It made me hate myself, perceive myself as weak; that's the natural knee-jerk reaction to this predicament. But looking at these trials objectively, I can see how they might allow me the opportunity to better myself. To work regardless of the stressful baggage of my daily life, that is the ability I want to have. It would be priceless and I know it can be done.

I wrote this semi-rant, semi-introspection, semi-bullshit to just get some of the rattling parts in my head fit together. Get my thoughts under control so that I can use them instead of being led by them. I guess that's why they suggest artists to start a blog. Sure its about the marketing, reaching an audience and having your work open to the public but it goes deeper than that. A blog can be a place where you can find pieces of yourself when you break apart. Build yourself back up to who you should be. Who the world needs you to be.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Plan

Have a quarter off from the university so I have a lot of time in my hands.
I'm planning to go back to the fundamentals of drawing; i.e, basic 2d shapes, freehand lines and circles, practicing the arm and the elbow rather than the wrist etc.

Oddly enough, a year ago, I was drawing on a level I had never expected to reach but I made the mistake of giving academics precedence over my hobbies by a very big margin.  That and gaming sucked away any time I could have spent on a blank sheet of paper.
I drew now and then, when I was on the train or waiting for the class to begin but only quick doodles.  Long focused studies were a thing of the past.

This time I'm starting from the ground up, going through every resource available to me on the breadth of the mighty internet.  I'm trying to make it not only my primary hobby, but a habit, a part of my daily routine, an integral aspect of myself.  For I see no other way; too long have I neglected this wonderful activity, overcome with ignorance towards the true nature of the craft, not to mention my overconfidence.

No more.

 Drawing is more than just the act of copying an image, from your mind or the world itself; it is more than just transcribing a picture with a pencil.  It is such a fundamental thing.  Even these words are little more than drawings themselves, they're symbols, curves of ink arrayed in such a fashion as to evoke a sound tethered to it.  Drawing at its heart is a breeze of thoughts, that feels its way through the tip of the pencil into the infinite depth of a blank page; it is the mind's way of cleaning the house where every image is to be sorted by the characteristic shapes that populate it and neatly set on the paper as true as it's place in the universe inside one's mind. Drawing is kind of like poetry where things come together in a seemingly unrelated pattern to create an impression of ideas or feelings so minute, that we don't even have names for them.

In the end, I will say that Drawing is trust.  Trust between your sight and your hands, a give and take relationship, a symbiotic connection, one learning to work from the other, teaching the other its ways.  It is this trust that deters most beginners because of the incessant betrayal of one to the other; maybe your eyes misjudged that angle, maybe your stroke wasn't dark enough, and so on.  They are not accustomed to working with each other, but even they do not know the power they could possess if they worked as one.  That, ladies and gentlemen, has been the goal of anyone who ever lifted a pencil to capture their sight.  A complete removal of discord between one's sight and hand movements, a perfect harmony of motion.

I myself have given up many times in the face of this 'discord' and have constantly procrastinated and delayed the activity of drawing.  Sometimes I cannot work up the will to sit at my table.  Call it lack of motivation, laziness, whatever.  I have no doubt it is all those things and more.  There must be something...something out of my control, a master, a commander who I cannot say no to who wishes me to pick up the pencil and get on with it, otherwise I could never work up to it myself while I'm stuck in this lackluster limbo of idleness and doubt at my abilities.

I hope to make a change. No, rather, I am deadset on making a change.  I will draw because it is commanded by someone of greater authority than I, someone not privy to what I feel like doing who I cannot deny.  I will draw because it is bloody fun, I will draw until the breeze of ideas brings a storm, a tornado, to whirl away my doubts to high heaven and leave me in peace, in the serenity of the blank page, an arena for my hand. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hand Studies

Drawing hands to better understand it's construction.


A self portrait I made in 2010.  One of my first attempts at creating portraits!


Practiced some hand gestures.  References from  Posemaniacs.com