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SOME THINGS CHANGE AND SOMETHINGS DON'T
posted: October 26, 2010
It may not be too apparent but it’s something that I surely feel. My drawing style is changing. At one time I drew in a very academic style. There was a process to my approach, to the way I observed. Habitually, I began in the same way even though the subjects where different. What an odd concept. Now I understand that every drawing, every painting, every new subjects requires a new unique approach. Each vision I’m investigating has its own place to begin. Its own purpose. Its own method.
Similarly, recently I’ve been toying with the idea that process is something that we use to guide our vision, and understanding while we learn how to draw, paint. But once you know, strictly adhering to a process might actually get in the way of a deeper, intuitive approach. I see it in Velazquez’s work. Early in his life of painting it’s easy to see that he’s painting along with a process in mind. Then, what seems to be all of the sudden, he lets go of his process and paints from a different place within. Surely confidence is a part of it. But I think there’s more to it. What can we see, what do we feel, what do we know, when we put down the preconceived notions that process applies? What opens up?
What I notice for myself, I will keep to myself. But I would like to say that when I shut my brain off, when I just respond, no accuracy is lost, and I’m much quicker. I wonder what the Sundance Kid would say to all of this?
Funny .  . . talk about styles changing. This 40′s looking guy was texting away at my York Street F station. Some things never change.
 
A few days later.
i just thought I'd add some other examples to clarify. By the way, It was just a few years back that if I drew someone with their head down they were reading. I'm noting now as I looked back though tree recent books that everyone is texting, or nosing around in there phone. Again, what's the difference. In the ol' days it was the daily news, everyone. Nowadays very few papers, lots of digitime.




9 comments
Rob Dunlavey October 27, 2010
Peter, I'm trying to sort out your ideas here. It sounds as if you're comparing/contrasting how much you let yourself respond to what you're actually seeing and how you go about the process of converting it to an image. Drawing from nature is primarily about carefully observing something with the accurate drawing as proof of your objective approach. It's a great exercise and it is the foundation of realism and Western art in general. This tradition, obviously, can lead to sterility and is only of interest to technicians. People generally seek to integrate their life experiences and values. It's natural that we, as artists seek newness through a kind of vulnerability to our subjects. Our emotions seem to crave authenticity and a recognizable place in the subject to call home. I believe this can happen regardless of the motif: landscape, figures, perhaps abstraction. It's all mediated through a blend of identification, emotion and technical fluency, history and style. We are not Outsider artists. We are part of a tradition and if we are honest, we are in continual dialog with our traditions. Life is not a rehearsal!
Alan Witschonke October 27, 2010
One could argue that illustration demands a process, a consistency of technique and style from one painting to the next. To ignore that leaves you open to the possibility that your work could lose that personal stamp that identifies you. A more free-form approach, while useful to explore new techniques, may make it harder for Art Directors to connect the dots.
Jim Paillot October 27, 2010
Peter, I have read through this twice. That's a lot to take in. And I am onboard with you for most of it. What I need to do now is dust off my art history books and look at some Velazquez again.
Peter October 27, 2010
Thanks guys for your response. Rob, i think it's that blending, which you so beautifully describe, that i feel is occurring. Maybe simply, the "how to" is falling away, getting quieter, and so much more is rising to the surface. The subject unfolds more rather then me making it happen with a process in mind. Alan . . . again thanks . . . I understand . . . good and important point. For sure my drawing style is changing my "work" but I find what I'm doing and experimenting with more interesting. Will I have the know how to fold it in to my portfolio? Recently a friend of mine did a portrait of Beckett in a more easy going style. He did it over a busy weekend, and kinda "gave up" with the job. He reported to me later that the painting seem to paint itself. On Sunday morning he ignored his habit of fixing all the problem areas, sent the job out and posted it to his portfolio. A few weeks later he got his first call from Time asking for more work in that style. Jim . . . for me . . . the change happens with a painting he did called The Buffoon Calabasaz in 1638. I have a book that shows his work almost in chronological order, which helps make the point. But it seems to me that not only does his painting technique leap, so does the ease in which he depicts his sitters. They all seem to have a deeper, more natural concept of who the people are. I guess my thesis there is that Velazquez becomes unbound by his own methods and paints in a directness that allows him to see, feel, know, and do more. Let me buy the next round. Thanks gents.
Peter October 27, 2010
Jim . . . right, I said each project needs a unique approach. I should have explained that better. Yes this sounds like I'm saying, "reinvent at the beginning of each project". Hopefully to clarify, lately I find myself more in the moment, actually regarding my subjects the unique nature, of each job, model, guy on the train platform. Instead of habitually applying my "process" almost without acknowledging of the subject true presence. I also read emails too quickly and miss the true message in those as well. It's a frontal lobe thing.
Mr. Home E. Skillet October 28, 2010
Peter- well said and insightful-as you know, some strive to describe what they see with fewer marks, but I think that kind of evolves, don't know- be well- H. Skillet
peter October 28, 2010
Skillet? Is that you! Evolution for sure.
skillet October 28, 2010
yup..........
peter October 28, 2010
oh.
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