Saturday, August 29, 2009

Yin Yang

I went for a 10k run this morning shortly after reading Peter Brown's comment on my last post and thought about what he wrote. As I'm pushing hard past the 8k point and the lactic acid is building I wondered why do I run like this? It hurts!

It also feels great at the same time. I do it again and again.

Something beyond my comprehension and beyond me, compels me to make drawings. To create works of art. That is what they are... work! Hard and sometimes emotionally painful labor. Sometimes tranquil and calming. It's the compulsion to do this that makes me feel uncomfortable. Many artists I've read about and talked with have shared similar feelings. Some of the greatest are tormented and driven to madness! Or are they driven BY madness? Hmmm.

I'm usually in complete command of works in progress and I enjoy the process. I felt threatened when this piece was getting the best of me and I reacted accordingly. That is not to say I wasn't enjoying the challenge of it. It might not have been comfortable but I definitely felt on the edge of my ability and very alive! Thinking back on why I tried this whole experiment in the first place I remember accepting the fact that I could loose control and that is what made it exciting.

It's all about the yin yang balance of control and loosing it I guess. The battle between darkness and light, between sitting on the porch with a beer or going for a hard run.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Word Choices

I love words. Their origins, the depth of their meaning and the context in which they are used. The listeners interpretations are based largely on our proper choice of words. I find it interesting how they are chosen to express thoughts and feelings. Sometimes we choose consciously and carefully, sometimes subconsciously and with hidden emotion.

Thinking back over the words I've used in my most recent posts and tweets (while working on the elk herd) made me think twice about their use and why I wrote them. Combinations like 'final assault', 'brutal war', 'total struggle'.

Looking back over the last hours of work on the piece I realized what force I applied to the execution of it. There I go again, 'force', 'execution'. I was attacking the thing with a vengeance trying to beat it into submission and to form to my will. Like attempting to tame a wild animal.

I am not at all sure why this happened. I even slept fitfully that night dreaming about the whole days events. My only guess is that it was caused by fear. Fear of giving up control, fear of failure.

In the end I vanquished the forces of darkness and light in that drawing. They succumbed to my bidding. I refused to concede even the smallest bit of control even while that damned thing attempted to steal it at every turn. It seemed that it felt alive in my hands. Then I chose this drawing to work on next?

Sometimes I wax philosophical so please forgive this ranting. It's all part of natural progression, the metamorphosis. I like THOSE words.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Sovereignty" finished.

Well here it is, finally! Each summer my family and I visit the 1000 Islands and the St. Lawrence River for a week in a wonderful little cottage near some great friends. I took along this work so I could finish it up in my friend's nearby studio with views of the river.

This is the final image after some last minute adjustments. I must admit it became a total struggle! I was waging a brutal war between darkness and light. I don't remember any drawing being this challenging or difficult. Makes me wonder if I approached it the right way and it leaves me skeptical about it's success.

At the moment I'm too close to it to make a proper assessment. I do not usually spend that many hours working continuously at that level of deep involvement. I'll look it over again in a few days with fresh eyes and pass a final judgement.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Getting past the halfway point.

The shadow cast across the back of the bull really brought this to life for me I think. It really seems to have lit this up with full sun. Next to the dark background he looks very bright, just what I want.

The upper left corner gives an idea of where the background is heading. Rocks and brush with more in between the deer. As that develops I think they will stand out more. As I've mentioned before this will be a very strong contrast work with the sunlight being key to it's success. Guessing I'm better than half way which is good since I have a September deadline for release of the limited edition. I love pressure.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Moved my easel again!

I just can't work in one place. I'm going to get an easel with wheels on it so I can roll it all over. I took it to my studio at Fort Drum in order to chip away at this while I'm "on the job". It's great being your own boss.

Once I roughed in the background I worked up the contrast behind the bull. Getting those antlers right is my main concern.

This close up really lets you see how much texture is on this. It makes it very challenging to lay down clean lines when I need to. The vine charcoal seems to be very forgiving and I just let it do what it wants. I need to get the antler shadow across the body soon, another key part of the work.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hurdle passed

Well I put the lines into the face and most importantly the antlers. They were the most critical aspect in my estimation since there was just one for each tine and I had to get them correct. At the moment there is not the contrast around them I want but that will come with the background work. At least I got past my mental road block and got this important part roughed in. Now I can put in the habitat and then spend some time refining the deer.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Comfort Zone

I've talked recently about loosing confidence with this new approach. I realize that I've been just plain intimidated and scared of this thing. It dawned on me over the weekend when I tried to sit down to work and just didn't feel good about it. I felt apprehensive. So... I rearranged my studio, switched the board back upright and moved it across the room. I felt like a dog spinning around before finally settling down to sleep.

That is actually when I realized I was afraid. Afraid of not getting the perfect line put down to capture the essence of the animal. Realizing that more was on the line and there was no where to hide.

Jack Hines, an artist said it best...

"...Drawing speaks directly to the viewer about the mind, soul and hand of the artist without pretense or falsehood".

There is NO WHERE to hide! So face it head on, step way outside the comfort zone and move forward. The one confidence you do have is that you gave it your best.