There is NO Magic • January 10, 2015

Some of my none artist friends seem to think that being creative means I have some sort of special magic.




Success is hard earned. I try something I think might work, over and over again until either it finally does, I’ve worn myself out – or I’ve figured out different way to keep trying. I chase after whatever move of the moment feels the most right, then I move on to the next moment. Most drawings are made up of a lot of these, with a fair dose of confusion accompanying them. Even if I’m up to something minimal, like a gestural drawing of a cat done with flying moves, I still have to find the few that get it right. I almost always get it wrong first, a bunch of times, with one or two just missing by an unfortunate mark or two. So, it’s mis-stepping across the finish line. I’d like to think that most simple looking, absolutely masterful drawings I’ve seen came about after their creator went through the same thing.


I tear up all my failures and use them for scrap paper so no one discovers how much I stumble.


One thing I’ve been working hard on is trying to accept that the very best drawings can have a little ugly in them. Sometimes, it’s what really defines them, like a slightly flawed vocal character that makes a great singer unforgettable. As obsessive as I am, it’s very, very hard to embrace flaws. Sometimes I put a patch over them and man oh man, am I good at it! You can’t see ’em. You can’t even feel it if you run a finger over them! I sand down and feather their edges. I glue them in perfectly. I’m obsessive, got it? Maybe it’s cheating, but then maybe not. You know those scraped drawings I just mentioned? Lately, I’ve been using bits for my patches! There are at least 5 small ones in the foliage of the last drawing I posted – two were from bad cats and another came from the head of an owl that tanked. Who could have guessed these losers had a future as leaves?


There’s probably yet another lesson in this; maybe about better understanding or assessing the character of marks and texture, outside of context? Oy, like I don’t already have enough to think about?