Of flowers and Making My Marks • September 18, 2016
Flowering #5 & #6, 2016
India ink and surface alteration on paper. 10.5″ x 14″
These two drawings were done one after the other, and are a pretty good illustration of the challenge I have set myself. The first picture is not particularly characteristic of me – I have a very hard time being delicate. Rarely do I succeed, and even here, I’ve edged towards more punch. I’m pleased some minimal moments remain though. The second picture, so muscular and bold, is of the sort I almost always end up with. I like it, and am proud of my increasing graphic power, but I don’t want to just pound out pictures. I’d like to be able to tease them into being as well, and sometimes leave them whispering.
I don’t know why I began messing around with a series of flower paintings this past spring or, for that matter, why I feel so compelled to challenge the character and calligraphy of my mark making.
Basically, there are two ways to portray something in ink. The first is to approach it descriptively – in other words, to utilize method and technique to portray something believably. Pretty straightforward right? In this system, the marks that you make are subordinate to a very specific goal, that of capturing what you observe with sensitivity, accuracy and honesty.
The second approach is far more fun, but also a mind-warping challenge, because there is no rule set, and as I try to work intuitively and expressively, the blank sheet is as much the space of my imagination as it is a piece of paper. The attempt is to make pictures, which, while they do indeed represent something – are equally driven by the pure visual interchange and dialogue of my marks. This is a very touchy-feely process, and I mean it in every literal sense. Anything is a tool for mark making, and almost everything works better if I use it wrong! Several of my favorite brushes have no fibers left – and I still prefer them! I love Saran Wrap. I had no idea finger painting required such finesse.
Most of what I’ve learned about drawing and painting has been called into play – and into question. Constant, elevated insecurity is now my familiar friend. I must investigate (and often circumvent) habits and tendencies: how I think, judge and react to what is happening right in front of me. Well of course, we’ve arrived at yet another paradox of creativity: to make brilliant moves, I must get in the way of my hand, and at the same time figure out how to turn it loose – and it always has to happen now, now, NOW, before my ink dries.
This is hard to explain, and I fear haven’t done well, but I’ll keep chewing on it. Perplexing, experimental flower pictures are scattered and stacked all over my studio. I’ll try to start getting some them up on the website soon. Meanwhile, I’ve posted many flowers from my spring and early summer efforts here: http://billloganart.com/drawings/flowering/
Your Buddy Bill
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