insights/conversations growing out of drawing








Adding colour to another depressing but strangely satisfyingly shaped haul of washed-up trash. Why I like these battered shapes…something lodging in the primitive brain, I suspect. Perhaps a kind of gestalt. I move closer and closer to the two greats in my pantheon: Morandi and Guston. I have come to them from the side like a crab. A frontal appropriation has always failed by sending me into a withering and drying up. How can I possibly compare the muddy puddle on my paper before me with their masterpieces? Now in the beach trash on which I concentrate they are two specks, blurs in either corner of my eye, right and left. I could describe them as ghostly attendants but best to ignore them and let the wordless drawing process itself usher me in. I read somewhere this weekend that the self can only be found in those moments when you pay attention to this rather than that i.e. in the choice one makes among the myriad sensations flooding the brain at any single moment. I think drawing/ painting/ writing helps to solidify self because one is in a trance of choosing and choosing. That is why it feels so good (most of the time).

Conversation on Facebook where I posted this text and an image or two:

Deborah James says:
Beautiful! yes you introduced me to, and taught me to like, both those artists…

I answered:
And you gave me Piero della Francesca, who, by the way, was Guston’s number one.

Lynne Lomofsky says:
Beautifully said and I think I have to agree!love the bits of colour that is definitely the magical process the artist experiences that the untrained viewer can’t see

I said:
Remember our conversations re: self expression…the unrealistic and simple notion that people persist in having, that if you, for example, paint with dark colours you are sad, or that van Gogh was expressing his sadness/madness in his ‘tortured’ brush strokes etc? I think this might be a way to counter that pop psychology mindset, which ask any practicing artist, is hooey: Self expression, yes. The artist is finding and consolidating themselves – the self – by making choices again and again in the process of making. Emotion is definitely not the main player,. When the result – the end product- awakens emotions in the viewer, it is almost incidental to the artist’s intention which is to negotiate the myriad impulses open to him/her and choose the way through. It has not been as a result of the outpouring of the artist’s emotions directly onto the canvas. Let’s banish that idea once and for all.

Lynne responded:
Yes! Yes! Yes! This needs to be published on other forums other than facebook but facebook is a good start. You should open this topic on your blog

Hence this post

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