Art Blaaaaahg of ehhd ehl

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I was going to go into a long winded and heavy handed attempt at analyzing why I think the way I do.

But this quote works better;

It is better to solve one problem five different ways, than to solve five different problems one way.—George Pólya

Monday, April 13, 2009

I'm trying to put the effort into updating internet-stuff a little bit more often.

So... here's a drawing from my new sketchbook.

For some reason girls with wedgies are intrinsically cuter than boys with wedgies.
Why is this?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I don't know why; but for some reason I seem to be really sensitive to each individual sketchbook. I don't know how to describe it any other way, but... every sketchbook I have seems to have it's own personality. And draws from me different drawings.

Maybe it is the weight and the tooth of the paper, maybe it is the shape of the book... but every sketchbook is a teacher in it's own right. On a technical level, because the weight and tooth of the paper changes: certain mediums can be made more or less effective. Portrait or landscape owe themselves very naturally to different types of page layouts and compositions. And hell, whether the book is portrait or landscape makes me look for different types of people. It's hard to make someone reeaaaaallly tall in a landscape book without flipping the book so you're drawing portrait. It's simple mechanics, really.

Some books tell me they want me to draw in ballpoint. Some want me to draw in Col-Erase. Some want brushpens. Some want me to clean up drawings. Some even want me to treat every page as a finished drawing. Hell, even two books of the exact same manufacture end up asking for completely different things from me. It's odd; I'm odd, I guess.

I don't know what it is, but when I try and dictate my growth in one direction... sometimes a book will tell me that it won't have it and send me in a completely different direction, or simply send me packing. Sometimes a sketchbook is like a really nice riddle and it will only nudge you in different directions until by the final page you know how the book wants you to draw in it.

Having a sketchbook like that is like having a fantastic, meandering conversation. My previous sketchbook was like that. There was no real unifying mode of drawing. The closest I got to unity in there was the few pages of hand drawings interspersed throughout. It was a fun, if tiring sketchbook. It really put me through my paces, taught me a fine bit of humility. And I came out the other side feeling as if I've made a friend; and this is with an inanimate object.

My new sketchbook is a sketchbook I had from the beginning of my second year at Seneca, if I recall correctly. I was obsessed with two things at that time: Brushpens with real bristles, and beautiful sketchbooks that were works of art by their own right. Funny thing was, I had just finished a sketchbook with a brushpen and given it to my friend Dee. So I could use a brushpen effectively. I knew how I wanted my new book to look. I had every bit of the book planned out in my head... and barely 16 pages in; the sketchbook told me to sit down, shut up and that I should just stop right there. So I tried again... approaching with humility but still with a purpose of how I wanted the book to look. And still, the book wouldn't let me draw with it. "I won't have any of that nonsense," is really what it said to me. I mean, externally the book is beautiful. It flaunts a kind of quality. It feels like a thing of refinement and luxury. But it was looking down at me all this time; telling me to stop being vain. Stop being so selfish about us. Stop treating the book like an object; a means to an end. And, simply, treat it like a friend.

So... after a few hiccoughs to begin with I am beginning a new adventure. A new series of conversations with what I hope to be a very good friend. And so far, we've only had a few disagreements here or there about politics or sports teams, or whatever. But we are finally getting along.

So, I guess the lot of you now know how weird I truly am. But, if I can give advice to anyone about drawing in a sketchbook... it would be to start listening to it. Just a little bit, for me. You may be surprised about the conversations you can have with it.

Or maybe I'm just a little nutso.



I know you've seen half of these before... but I just wanted to share them with you in the context that I think of them within; as a sketchbook. A series of pages bound together not only with thread and glue; but bound within the confines of time... The sketchbook tracks my progression. It tracks how my ideas on how to draw evolve. If it was not for the serial nature of the drawings: if I simply jumped at random through the pages... I believe my evolution over the course of the book would have been completely different.

And... at the same time; because of it's bound nature... I can't edit out the drawings that I think are failures. There is just as much failure as success in every one of my books... In fact judging by the number of pages I've posted... I fail twice times as much as I succeed. So... looking at art from the simple spot of statistics: There is a high statistical likelihood that I will fail every time I start drawing. And it isn't even that I have 1 page every three drawings that I feel I succeed within; I have 1 drawing every three pages that I feel succeeds. And given that on average I do 5 drawings per page.... 1 in 15 drawings succeed in my opinion. And even that is at a fairly generous level. And these days... the fact that I fail so much is almost empowering. I mean... Here I am, mediocre at best, and I turn the page to start fresh; even after every disastrous and demeaning failure.

To put it simply:

If at first you don't succeed:
try, try again.



Saturday, April 11, 2009

It's hard not to post all this stuff all at once. I'm even tempted to upload all of what I've done in my newest sketchbook. But one thing at a time...

Friday, April 10, 2009

So this is my most recently completed sketchbook. I bought it cause it's red.

I scheduled some posts over the next few days. The last one is scheduled for Sunday morning.

My sketchbooks are who I am as an artist. And I kind of just wanted to share who I am with you.



Thursday, April 9, 2009

So Joe Parks figure drawing class this past Tuesday was awesome. I was originally going to go back into these drawings and touch them up... But I have far too much other stuff on my plate to spend an hour reworking life drawings. I mean, I want my drawings to have more 'Finish' and finesse; but I have always kept my gesture drawings pretty much free from touch ups. I've made small changes from time to time, but rarely more than one or two lines.

But... We did a lot of "two-pose narrative storytelling". Which is a fancy way of saying that the model showed us where the two poses were going to be so that we could get them to interact, and change them if need be. And Joe at one point during the day said that we could be free to interpret the poses... and if anyone knows anything about how I draw gestures... I attempt to interpret and exaggerate the pose. And, man oh man. This was a brilliant exercise. I had so much fun; I was grinning ear to ear by the end.

Keep rockin, friends.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I will soon photograph and upload a large part of the sketchbook that I recently completed.
I think I'll upload it in chunks to keep it from being a humongous post and so that I can update the blog more regularly... I'd like to update regularly with up to date drawings but it is hard to find the time to photograph, edit and post images after I get home close to midnight most nights.

Wow. I don't mean to pat myself on the back or anything. But I feel as if I've learned a lot from these paintings. Firstly about the way I think, and secondly but certainly no less I've learned about the craft of creativity. I mean walking in I had no idea what I was doing I just knew that this was something that I wanted to do. And here I am, still knowing nothing about how colors work, or the proper way of doing things and I'm learning how to make choices. It may not be the fastest way to learn how to do things, but it is so very rewarding. I mean, in my free time... that is generally between the hours of 11pm and 3am. And between the hours of 6am and 11am I get home; I'm tired and cranky and... I want to be creative.

So because my workspace doesn't change I can leave my painting area (clean-ish) but intact and just hop in the chair, flip on my hyperaggressive overhead light... look in the mirror. And start doing something that less than a month ago I didn't even know what doing it was supposed to feel like; and here it is now one of the more rewarding aspects of my life.

Don't get me wrong. Some nights, oh man.... last night was a doozy... I get home. I've been working all day and... my back is sore, my hand is cramped, I'm exhausted... I just spent an hour next to a smelly homeless guy on the ttc... and I really don't want to paint.

But sometimes, most times, the simple act of sitting down at my desk where my paints are is enough to make me want to be creative. And the worst and best part about this for me is that hours can go by like water for me as soon as I start working creatively.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Be forewarned: this is a text heavy post.

I believe that music and poetry and literature and dance and visual art and acting and science and everything that require creative and critical leaps of logic are extremely closely related. And, I find it almost funny how they also share the same terminology sometimes. And, in my head; and, in my sketchbook, I write notes to myself. Oftentimes this refers to music because I find that the closest association to the creation of visual art.

And the funny thing is they share so much wonderful terminology:
  • Rhythm
  • Structure
  • Tone
  • Harmony
  • Repetition
  • et cetera
And the funny thing is is the vocabulary that describes music is wonderfully expressive:
  • Crescendo
  • Drone
  • Dissonance
  • Melody
  • Staccato
  • et cetera
Isn't it just lovely how they correlate?

So when I draw... I try and draw the music, if that makes any sense whatsoever to anyone aside from myself.

And I love to dissect terms and apply them abstractly to other parts of my understanding of the world; especially if I have no other sympathetic words at my disposal, or if that application creates an interesting thought relationship that I can attempt to explore.


phrase: Everyone knows what a phrase is, but it also applies to music (Music. a division of a composition, commonly a passage of four or eight measures, forming part of a period. ( and dance (Dance. a sequence of motions making up part of a choreographic pattern.( So... can't it apply to the description of visual art? The phrase in dance is essentially a division with time, or step count acting as the bounding markers. The phrase in music is again bounded by time, but due to the formal method of musical notation it can be divided into measures (of time). So, to me this means that in visual art this can apply to a fragment of a larger composition. However I believe that, just as in music and dance not every random selection of notes or motions will make sense, not every random fragment of an image is a phrase. Therefore a phrase in terms of visual art, to me, applies to a composition within a larger composition...

Everything applies across all mediums.

Draw music.

The second thing that I try and draw. Is I try and draw movement. This is slightly less abstract because movement is seen, and so it can be visually analyzed. You can describe it in vectors, in left, right, up or down. But... it is a little more complex than that. Because you need to give the viewer a starting point and a finish line... sort of.

I mean... movement is distance over time. How do you get time in a still image? Well... simple really. Give the eye places to stop. You will create a visual beat. So the speed of the movement is the amount of space you cover over a visual beat. Yeah. I try and draw movement.

I'll try and describe this more later, but I think I covered the gist of it.