|"Mooring Lines" WIP 9 x 12 Graphite|
I was out of the studio for several days, so I worked on this graphite drawing in my field book. Much of it was accomplished while riding in the car to my Dad's house on Lake Erie.
The rope and chain came from his barn, and the gorgeous old wood is part of his neighbor's dock, built from old railroad ties. I want to create another semi-abstract piece, focusing on the composition and the flow of the shapes and lines, rather than the subject matter. I also purposely did not pre-plan the composition. I've erased and moved things around several times already, letting my mind and hands do what seems right at the time. That's part of the reason I love working with graphite so much. The expression it allows me.
Now that I'm back IN the studio, though, the field book has been closed, and tucked away in my backpack, along with my little bin of traveling pencils. It will wait patiently for another day, when I find myself heading out somewhere, and knowing that I'll have a little bit of time to draw while I'm there. That's kind of what makes these field books drawings extra special: the circumstances under which they come about, and the long pauses in the process.
Oh, why did I title this post "No, But Yes"? I was thinking about how everybody everywhere is setting their New Years' resolutions...
No, I'm not a big believer in making a bunch of resolutions just because it's a new year.
But yes, I am a big believer in reflecting back over the past year, and learning from my experiences. I think I learned two really huge things about myself and my art this year.
1. I shouldn't agree to draw something unless I feel a true passion for the project.
The worst experience I had with my art this year was when I agreed to draw something that I just didn't find appealing. The subject didn't lend itself to good composition at all, and it lacked any color or detail that might be featured. Also, I had promised a particular sized drawing in a particular medium ahead of time, before seeing the subject. There was very little opportunity to use my own creativity, or to do all the things that I like to do with my own drawings. I should have turned the job down, and offered names of other artists whom I knew. Lesson Learned.2. I have to stop measuring my work in comparison to other artists' work.
Despite all my talk about how important it is to have one's own unique style... I still feel a little embarrassed when I see my work hanging in a show amid works that are more traditional than my own. I feel like mine is somehow inferior, or looks too storybookish, or just too unusual, and I inwardly chastise myself for not making something more customary and expected, to blend in with what other artists have brought. I have to let go of that thinking. I really need to trust my own instincts and draw what I want to draw, and not be swayed by what anybody else is doing. I can't really write 'Lesson Learned' here... because I have a feeling I'm going to relive those kind of moments a few more times before I really get that lesson ingrained in my mind. But I'm working on it!
How about you? What do you discover about yourself and your art when you think back over the past year?