Monday, July 12, 2010

"Getting It On - Graphic Studies"

Sometimes you accidently face the ideas that keep resurfacing while you're working.  Today I spent the afternoon sketching for several hours on the deck of my daughter's new home.  Living without a studio for over a month now, I'm beginning to feel a buildup of stored energy -- missing my studio discipline.  However, I am feeling pretty smart that I stocked 2 small pencil and pen boxes filled with Faber Castell's Soft Supracolor Pencils, PITT Artist Pens, Aqua Creta Colors, Caran d'Ache Painting Crayons, Wax Pastels,  favorite Prisma sharpener, water pens,  graphite pencils and the Tri Tip eraser!  Yes, I'm happy I have something to draw, sketch and paint with!  This withdrawal is pushing me into strange territory and bringing good information!  
I am missing the daily routine of painting and the physicality of the action.  I wouldn't call myself an "action painter", but working in multi-media (Encaustic, Oils & Acrylic) stimulates the need for dynamism while working.  This place of loss and gain forces you to become acquainted with your true circumstances.  

In this transition,  the process is bringing me to the "thinking" place.  My usual working method is intuitive, and the only preparation that takes place is the setting up of materials and my love of mixing paint -- creating polychromatic palettes-- a large part of my drive. I enjoy the alchemical process of experimenting with materials and expanding the possibilities.  

This slowing down is quite different from a "block".  I find myself thinking every day about painting and discovering clarity through working within my sketchbooks and sketchpads.  It's definitely presenting another chance to understand my process and my relationship with my process.  

It became apparent today that I have been exploring my paintings through the lens of photographing them whole and then in quadrants as well as taking oblique shots of the work.
My camera has been a great outlet lately and I am seriously looking at digital SLR cameras!
I watch myself sketching from my sketches!  Observing the aerial or tilt angles.  Just today I remembered an early childhood memory--  watching my Dad drafting --  technical mechanical drawings.  Watching him in production-- creating layouts, lines, dimensioning, text symbols, grids, etc.  I was indeed mesmerized at his talent.  He taught me how to hand-draw 2-D boxes, houses and rectangles.  I can't remember how to draw them now.  But -- something new is happening in my paintings and my relationship to them.  

Somehow the word, "perceptual" entered my mind as I was working long and digging in with my crayons and pencils today.  The trance-state of working is pure joy!  Working effortlessly and emerging hours later -- voila!   You have a little increment of work and it's even possible to appreciate the work without any self-consciousness.  (Op Art crossed my mind but feeling resistant to it.  No judgements or intellectualizing (too much) -- just, "get it on" and see what comes around!  

According to Wikipedia:
Perceptual art is a form of art that can trace its roots to the art history concepts of perceptualism as well as to twentieth century inventions of conceptual art and performance art.

In practice, perceptual art may be interpreted as the engagement of multi-sensory experiential stimuli combined with the multiplicity of interpretive meanings on the part of an observer. Sometimes, the role of observer is obscured as members of the public may unwittingly or unknowingly be participants in the creation of the artwork itself.

The concept of perceptualism has been discussed in historical and philosophical explorations of art and psychology, thus it forms an innate relationship between the artist and philosopher

Op art, also known as optical art, is a style[1] of visual art that makes use of optical illusions.
"Optical art is a method of painting concerning the interaction between illusion and picture plane, between understanding and seeing."[2] Op art works are abstract, with many of the better known pieces made in only black and white. When the viewer looks at them, the impression is given of movement, hidden images, flashing and vibration, patterns, or alternatively, of swelling or warping.

There's something exciting about finding your trance-state while making sketches and knowing you can just tear out the page, crumple it up and toss!  There's little investment but sometimes much to gain!   I am coming to understand much about where my early influences began.  

Whether you're inside or outside of your work, ready to engage or escape, stay with the best part -- even if it's a small corner!  Getting it on with 'graphic studies' is my little corner for now --
moment to moment.  

"Between each fruitful phase are long
periods of exploration, faltering, learning,
and working things out."
                 ____Kenneth Noland

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