The issue that’s becoming highlighted and underlined is that drawing itself is a craft, an activity that can be shown and taught from person to person. The talent is variable, but generally, students can be put in a funnel and pushed through by a teacher to achieve similar consistencies. The student is focused on learning the principles of their craft and their practiced applications. A independent student can do much the same by inadvertent adherence to adapting personal taste tilting towards the presented norms of their peers and masters. Both sets of students learn the skill of drawing… ie, drawing is a craft.
I’ve been working on developing my craft by drawing from photos, I’m more confident with using the materials at hand to create an image. What I’m not doing still, is taking creative responsibility for my own voice. I can look at the images that I’ve selected, I can see what my visual tastes are being drawn towards. I have strong opinions about composition, about visual storytelling. The art isn’t in the craft of drawing. Drawing is the medium and the tool for a creative voice. The creative voice coupled with craft is the Art. Do what you know you are supposed to do and get busy.
My great hope was, by this point, be able to pull out a sheet of paper and satisfactorily draw the face I cherish. A year and a half in and I’m not afraid to try, neither am I daunted when I fall short. I’m disappointed that can’t capture her likeness, not even a simple likeness, but I’ll happily keep learning and trying. We all have many hopes.
Drawing her let’s me explore and experience becoming familiar with the character and beauty that’s arises from her, but I can’t seem to even approach the likeness or quality that she stands in.
I am never going to feel the validation of those I’ve craved validation from. That’s precisely why I crave their validation, in its absence, it’s become a longed for an imagined ideal, an ideal that can no longer realistically be met or even be recognized when it’s earned. An artifact of neglect and ambivalence it motivates without fulfillment or cessation. A make believe artist with a piece of charcoal and a blank sheet of paper.
I am free to dream anything.
I’m posting this, not because I believe it’s a successful work, but because I believe that even as it fizzles out on the page, it’s representative of a direction with creative potential to create states of arousal centered around color fields, form, and a loose adherence to representation.
Using cut paper to block in a form using stencils. It’s less drawing or painting and more akin to stacking blocks to build totems. So many questions need to be asked, so many answers need to be found before this can be made to work.
The issue that I have isn’t necessarily with the form that’s been created, but the background landscape that’s been left out.
Jess looked at this drawing on the board today and told me that it looked like my work. She said it as a compliment (I think), but I flinched, inwardly saying “fuck… that can’t be good.”
While trying to improve our work, is there a goal running parallel to this? A goal that reasons that if the work is improving, we are improving as well? So if a drawing looks like something I made, it’s assumed that it’s recognizable by my limitations and habitual approach to vision, composition, and mark making. There’s a large part of me that wants to be able to make drawings that pretend that they aren’t me, that pretend to be grander, more eloquent, and more beautiful. It’s this want that keeps me showing up everyday just to try again and again, the irony is that in the meantime, the more I show up, the more and more I become comfortable with myself. While what I can’t do defines what I can do, it’s what I’m doing that’s recognizable as me.
ps. I’ve wanted to use that vase in a project of some kind for years. It’s one of Jess’s that I pulled from the bin during one of her bouts of censorship of her work. I like the drawing just because it’s in there.