Monthly Archives: September 2019

Post-it Note 9/28

I’m not asking for a trade of your resources or judgments, I’m asking you to be open to pushing against what I push forward.

Every Style is a means for insisting something, what are you insisting?

I’ve found this week that I’m far more comfortable sharing work that feels awkward and haptic rather than work that’s leans towards formalized representation. While I’m working towards being able to convincingly visually represent the character of an individual, I’d prefer to steer away from mimemic accuracy, the world is already filled with people running themselves through that particular funnel, and I’m pretty sure the world wouldn’t be any better served by my choice to follow suit, so I choose not to.

Engagement in the Absence of Reason

The recognition of a single element, a hand or a foot, can be enough to lead a viewer into a play of line and color, a tempting tease to puzzle reason from.

It’s the hint of possibly that tempts the eye to move through color and line, slowing, searching for clues to meaning.

To be sure, being told what’s there in front of the viewer will instantly end the game. The exercise of “engaged seeing” abruptly ends, turning quickly to assessment and disengagement.

The assertion, reason kills the power of a work of art.

Post-it Note 9/22

I respect others that can excape their filters. As far as I can tell, we all have filters that we live our lives through. We pick a role to play or an expectation to meet… maybe a script or a personality trait that helps us survive. I enjoy meeting people that are comfortable exploring themselves and are open to share the experience. It’s a rare delight. I find myself cheering for those that can step away from their filters to enthusiastically feed their curiosity and make intuitive leaps in directions that result as responses to their own personal experiences. 

I feel that I’m continually writing myself a permission note by restating that it’s ok to make work that isn’t necessarily for anyone’s taste other than myself. I’m not even sure what filters I’m operating with, (obvious more than I’m aware of), but I’m working on shaking a persistent and unwanted need for affirmation. Unfortunately I suspect it’s a integral piece of my makeup that drives my development. I kind of wonder what would happen if I actually got it.

Question of Meaning

Is a work any more or less valid in the absence of meaning?

Is the opposite true?
Is a work any more or less valid in the presence of meaning?

To answer, “it depends of the qualities of meaning, and the qualities of its absence” Effectively rendering the point moot. It turns the issue into a subjective exercise for both the artist themself, and likewise, each viewer independently.

Recognition of a Challenge 

I’m struggling with thinking that I’m overthinking what I’m drawing. I’m know that I’m confusing myself with the idea that by practicing creating work infused with meaning I’d be creating better work, an idea which is obviously both true and false at the same time. Layering meaning into a drawing can make a better design, but it’s not a given. Still, giving work meaning is far easier than what I really want to learn to do, practice creating drawings that can elicit a feeling. The difficulty being that triggering a feeling is an entirely a different kind of challenge, reason can be reasoned out by most, triggering a feeling is much more selective of its audience.

Apparently it looks like there’s no shortcuts, a whole language of design needs to be discovered, explored, practiced, critiqued, and internalized if any hope to gain ground on this. If there are any lesson plans or exsercizes somewhere out there that shares stradegies to achieve this, (and I’m sure that there is) I haven’t found them yet. 

This isn’t a complaint, it’s just the recognition of a challenge.

But I do enjoy the play of the color and the nod to the suggestion of a narrative. 


What are some of the general criticisms and suggestions for the current work?

The compositions are fundamentally derivative of the aesthetics of portrait photography. (Source your own elements and build your own compositions.)
Key proportions are off. (Keep practicing)

Drawings need more story elements. (Move towards more still lives that include a figure rather than a figure that includes a still live.)

Figures don’t have context. (See previous)

I don’t feel pulled into the drawings. (Use color massing, conscious use of tonal variation, balance, simplicity from a distance) (possibly begin with a general compositional map before adding in the individual elements)

Colors are muddied. (Switch medium to painting)

The figure tends to get lost in the interior of the drawing. Explore enlarging to the point of abstraction and cropping while maintaining the still life.

Bring more rhythm into the drawings by using pattern (wall paper, fabric)

Create and use elements (cups, vases of flowers, food)

Use mirrors, windows, doorways.

Play operator more often by drawing from resource drawings as a method to distance and detach from the subject.

Otherwise, just keep playing, practicing, and enjoying what you are doing. Make sure to continue to create challenges and opportunities for yourself and the drawings will develop… but they’ll go in a direction that is more specifically and authentically yours if the suggested changes are put into place.

Post-it Note 9/16

Neural linguistic programming 

How we talk to ourselves using the language of our minds.

Technical skill is an essential building block, but it can’t be an end result without risking becoming a mere specimen of craft, instead it needs to be part of a system of aesthetics native to each individual artist, a system that’s used to create implied meaning and narrative.

Economy of Information 

I believe that the “economy of information” is a new principal of design in the age of   information saturation.

An amazing amount of work fails because it attempts to carry too much information rather than too little. 
It seems to have become a common assumption that equates the volume of information that’s presented with the complexity of a design.

Once what was looked at and thought tobe “too busy” is now being reconsidered as possibly reflective of modern life. This begins to confuse a statement with an aesthetic, and inadvertently gives permission to unintentionally unskilled design.

I’m not going to give this a blank pass… I believe that too much information can effectively overwhelm the viewer, turning their attention away. It’s counter productive to the intention of connecting with attention.

I repeat… The economy of information, the pairing down to the impactful detail, becomes a Principal of Design in the new era of information.

This isn’t an excuse to dumb down the work that’s being done. Quite the opposite, it’s a challenge to understand one’s own work, it’s motivations, it’s needs, and push at those understandings in the clearest possible way through the work itself. Even work, that at first glance that appears simple, can be full of complexity.

 While there are a vast number of  artists that have this pretty well figured out, I’m still working on it, and honestly, what I come up with often steps over the line and doesn’t work… and other times it finds its target and pops.

Mental note… Economy of information, paired down to the impactful details, a new Principal of Design in an era of information…

To Be or Not To Be

There are days where I’m a bit ashamed to be the kind of person that thinks that entertaining myself by spending time drawing might be time well spent. Drawing is a fairly pointless activity and arguably I probably should be doing something more constructive with my time. I’m not the best at it, nor am I, by most people’s standards, particularly any good at it. It doesn’t help pay any bills, and there’s more crickets in my imaginary audience than people clapping, but I like how drawing makes me feel. It lets me feel hope, hope that a piece of my world will continue to get bigger as I push out my boundaries and I’ll get to grow with it even as I lose my ability to keep up with most of the rest of the world.

The reason that I say that I feel ashamed that I use drawing to entertain myself, is because there are days (like today) when I meet someone who takes making their work very, very seriously, yet has nothing to say with their work, thinks highly of themselves, and still doesn’t give much thought to the others around them. It’s not all that difficult to imagine the parallels between this person and myself. The kicker is when the work doesn’t back up the rhetoric in any meaningful way. Stepping back, it all appears hollow and narcissistic, leaving me feeling like it’s probably best if I just picked up my pile of drawings and quietly dropped them in the trash. There’s a bit about the imposter syndrome that people neglect to speak about out loud, that most of the people that say that they feel like impostors actually are just that, they are people that think and say that they are something that they technically are not… they are imposters. It’s when I run into someone who’s sense of self importance that has seriously short circuited their ability to be self critical that I’m left feeling seriously in doubt as to whether I am more similar to this delusion than I’d like to believe. It’s probably a act of self honesty to accept that it’s a true reflection and take a few moments to decide what I really want from the work. It’s no longer helpful to just show up to blindly practice, I need to make decisions regarding direction before implementing another set of challenges to move the work along towards an ideal.