Monday, September 24, 2012

Draw Everyday! HEY...Wait. Why are You Not Drawing?

Draw...draw...draw everyday! You must get better and better. Don't skip a day. Isn't this what every teacher has been telling us ever since we started drawing?

Practice..practice...practice... I do just that. Now, to be fair, I am also slightly nutty about drawing. I think I might be addicted to it. It is immediate. It is accessible. It lets me enjoy the present. I am fully immersed in the joy of the moment when I sketch. And, I know that I can spend as little or as long as I want to on it. I have sketchbooks all over my house and even carry one in the car just in case my car breaks down or I get into a traffic jam. Hmmm....Perhaps I should also think about making sure I also have jumper cables?

I also happen to love the notebooks of DaVinci and I love looking at people's sketchbooks where the text and sketch become a piece of art together. I always have. I've also always loved comic books and graphic novels and anything where imagery and text come together.

And, after looking at some of the artists that incorporate text and imagery. I noticed that most of them use text as a graphical element to support the main visual which would be the painting. I am  mostly thinking of the artists Sean Landers and Jenny Dill for example.

So, what if I reversed the relationship of text and imagery. If I can, I will use the series of life drawings I have done the past 2 weeks as a "ground" and simply write on top of it. Again, I do not know how this will work or if it will look like a big mess, but it does bring the idea that Barry Schwabsky introduces in the book Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting introduction:

"The fact that fewer and fewer art schools require their students to enroll in departments of painting, sculpture, or printmaking; in the new "deskilled" academy, there is typically one overarching department, of say, visual arts, whose students are expected to apply ad hoc whichever technique happens to be the most appropriate to a given project."

Beth Campbell's "potential future" drawings
I'm mostly interested in his last statement of "apply whatever technique happens to be the most appropriate". With that in mind, I am opting for doing a collage of my own drawings and then painting a thin wash of burnt umber over the top. After that is finished, in the spirit of Beth Campbell's "potential future" drawings I have decided to start with the premise of "I Need to Draw Every Day" This started many different branches and threads of thought as to why I do or do not draw everyday and the reasons for so many roadblocks or successes.

This may seem like a very easy thing to do. It's not. To take all the studies and drawing that I had created for two weeks and then to glue them all down and paint over them actually took a leap of faith. After all, I was proud of all of these sketches. Now, not all life drawings turn out. Some are just really awful. The terrible drawings get thrown out or I let me boys draw all over them or sometimes they even color in the "nudes" all sorts of different colors. I sometimes wonder if that will land them into therapy someday. Will they be lying on the therapist's couch saying "I had to sit in a basement studio coloring in naked people as a child!" Oh well, maybe it means they'll be fairly well adjusted. Either way, I'm sure in about 20 years my boys will gladly let me know of all my "parenting mistakes"...hahaha....

Okay..back to the topic. When I look at this piece now, it reminds me a lot of an artist I discovered at the Des Moines Art Center last month. His lectures were so dynamic and the chalkboard so covered in thoughts, arrows and diagrams that the chalkboards themselves became an art object. And, in order to really view the work and read it, the viewer needs to get close to it. When viewed from a distance, all of the text on my piece starts to blur, but if the viewer gets close then he or she will see what goes on within my head and all the tangents that can spring up anytime I start with the thought "You Need to Draw Everyday".

24" x 28" drawing collage, oil paint, marker

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