Thursday, January 17, 2013

deeper into my lines

The secret of any artist in any medium is to take what is in the head and make it so others can see it. Sometimes the transition or translation is smooth, sometimes not. Sometimes the outcome is exact, maybe close, and sometimes not as envisioned. We call that artistic process and artistic skill. Drawing is a big part of all that.

I talked with a local artist and teacher, he told me that most people do not know how to look so they can't draw what they see. I say they can't draw what they think either. Why? You have to get used to drawing, making a mark, guiding a pen or pencil. This is about the need and desire to do it. Now, what does that mark communicate? Does it say what you intend to communicate? Just like when you learned to write words and arrange them to convey speech, marks on a page can become pictures. It can start with cartoon like sketches and end up photo-realistic.

I am a notebook fanatic. Back in the day it was poetry writing, now it's sketchbooks. What is this about? You got the knack, you are developing the skill, you need to work on content to make it all relevant. I'm sorry you can't do one thing and then the other. In fact usually content drives you to develop the skills so that you can have your say, express your view, record for posterity in a way that others can appreciate it. What mathematician writes in an unknown language? He or she uses the symbols known by all and if they get inventive, they explain in detail the new form. Drawing even though the outcome can be abstract, is based on primitive forms and shapes common to human thought and physical abilities. I wish they quit trying to get monkeys and elephants to draw, that's fun but lame on too many levels. That's my point, even man's primitive levels are high levels.

So that's my art lesson. Desire to make a mark, learn to make marks. Desire to draw what you see, learn to look. We look through our passions. I was a model in a life drawing class. The class first drew me in caricature, big lips, knobby fingers, wide nose, what they thought a black person looked like. The teacher cursed, scolded and shocked the class, I was so embarrassed. Look dispassionately, like a camera, faithfully recording what is. You can go in and add your passion (details) later. The second round of pics were better, more life-like. The third round I appeared on the students paper. Life drawing, not cartooning.

Me, I'm a drafter, used to shapes and symbols. I gravitated toward more abstract art. It tends to be a different kind of looking than life drawing or cartooning, yet I consider if folks will understand what I'm trying to say or at least be comfortable with it. Lines and shapes and color is a language that requires lots of practice. Today it is common for practice works to be displayed as art. It is common for folks to say, "that's not his best work", in retrospect. The world is a flood with practice or developmental art pieces, so the buying public should be picky, choosy and discriminating. Buy because you like it first, then for the name if you must. Hey I went from drawing art to buying art. Hint! Hint!

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