For the past few days I’ve been focused on trying to regain whatever skills I developed with pencils, a few years ago. Slow-going, lots of missteps and frustrating messes. I used to be able to draw eyes. Good ones! They looked the way I wanted them to! Now, because I didn’t draw for so long, I draw the eyes I drew when I was learning to draw them the first time. Not good ones! They don’t look the way I wanted them to!
It’s humbling. It’s also making me want to break a few pencils after I scribble all over those not-good-eyes.
But pencils are expensive and I can’t destroy honest attempts. Instead, I took a break with iPastels and made the silly face above.
Silly is good. I enjoyed my little escape and can now return to pencils, renewed.
I made the “Summer Treats” pattern using “Image Tricks” (BeLight Software). It’s an app designed for Macs and there’s free version that lets you make magic with existing images – and also generate new ones.
Twenty days ago I decided to bring this old, dead blog site back to life. I’d set it up fourteen years ago, used the heck out of it for several years, and then changed course. I left it behind. But it was still “home,” so I paid for my domain (robinkingfaces.com) and began posting again.
WONDERFUL!!! I met you fascinating, talented people! I posted about my art journey!
But I neglected a couple of extremely important things. I didn’t check my Comment spam folder and I didn’t always click the “Reply” button when I replied to comments. The result was that lots of truly non-spammy comments never ended up posted (I never even saw them until yesterday) and even though I typed replies to people, many of those people never knew.
So, yesterday I went back through all of my Comment files and interactions. I approved the non-spammy comments and replied to them. I retyped replies to the Comments that never got them because of that pesky reply button.
If you left me a comment and didn’t receive a reply, I hope you have now. When I jumped back into this blog-world I was so excited to be back that I skipped important steps. I’ll try not to do that again. LOL – I blame my lizard brain (amygdala) for being so emotional about the experience that I messed it up.
(“Lizard Brain” – detail from larger painting – acrylic on cardboard)
A few minutes ago, a TV commentator who’s been working from home and “the road” began his interview by apologizing for how nondescript his background was:
I’m in a hotel room. Everything’s corporate gray. It’s not me.
How sad that he felt the need to apologize for the grayness of the room he’s in! No, it’s not his chosen color-level but so what? Why did he do that? Because everyone has a color-opinion and some people rigidly – and sometimes nastily – demand that all people agree with them. Not enough color. Too much color. Wrong color. Blabbity-blah.
The blast of colors on the face up there are me. I’m not going to apologize, back off, mute, or otherwise dilute that me-ness. Maybe that’s the art of the thing? Maybe it’s simply the you and the me in what we do? Dunno. What I do know is that when I posted that face on a social media account last year, a person whose art opinion I respect told me that it was “…too colorful.”
How is that possible?
We discussed it briefly, then suddenly stopped. He said I was making a fool of myself, that it was TOO MUCH. He has color limits. I don’t. We remain mutually-respectful online buddies but I suspect that we will never agree on colors. I can live with that.
Now, with all of that out of the way, here’s what I planned for this post to be about: That face is a mix of my photography, acrylic painting, and digital painting. It doesn’t exist in our world unless it’s printed. I want to be able to paint that face so it will exist. Right now that’s a crazy dream. My painting skills are nearly as nonexistent as that face. The last time I painted I struggled to make any sense of the strokes. I couldn’t create what I wanted to create. Today I could not paint that face. Maybe I’ll never have the patience to learn how to paint that face. And maybe I don’t have to, given that I already made that face. Maybe digital compilations of my own work are my limit.
That’s what this post was supposed to be about. But it’s a whiny rehash of the past and an amorphous daydream of the future. Pointless.
Maybe what it ought to be about is how very personal “art” is, how it is – at its center – us. Maybe the me-ness of my art, whether it’s painted or poured or cut or sculpted or photographed or drawn or compiled, is the art. Maybe that’s why everyone has an opinion. And maybe that’s why those opinions can hurt and buoy and inflate and decimate: because they’re not about what we do but about who we are. They’re about us.
I can live with that, too. But I can’t live without bright colors. They’re – well – me.
The last time I sketched/drew more than illustrative digital scribbles was late 2017. The reason isn’t important. What matters is that I’ve been worrying that I won’t be able to sketch/draw again. I wasn’t all that great at it to begin with. How could I magically improve during a protracted absence from the activity? One of the reasons I restarted this blog is because I’m going to paint again. The other reason is that I want to – need to – sketch/draw again, if only because I like making the marks.
But seeing others’ work has begun to freak me out.
CAN I DO THAT AGAIN?
WHAT IF I CAN’T?
So: this afternoon I did a small sketch. I like the fact that her face doesn’t look much like the reference. Instead, her face looks like most of the faces I used to do. That’s a good thing, I think. I also like the way her hair seems to tumble. I haven’t done well with hair so this was a nice surprise. Over all, I like the sketch.
But! Even though I adore making them, I don’t like my typical all-over-the-place marks. I aim wrong and then keep adding marks until I finally end up where I want to be but the result is messy, like a mouse with muddy feet skittered thru it. Example: what appears to be her ear is supposed to be her ear lobe with a dangly earring. Oops. On the other hand, lots of weirdly haphazard marks can turn into easy shading, not an awful thing. But in a couple of spots that tumbling hair does resemble sections of a human being’s large intestine. Not great.
Still, this lady with the lopsided hair looks like the people I used to do. She’s not worse and not better. Nearly four years’ absence doesn’t appear to have stopped me from sketching/drawing. It didn’t make me magically better at it, either.
(5B pencil on paper that has something on its other side)
Textures! I love “not flat” images! I want my eyes to make me feel like I’m touching the art.
A few months ago I chopped off my “COVID hair” and finally (after years of dyeing) accepted the fact that it’s white. White, white, white. It’s been going white since I was in my mid-twenties so no surprise that now I look like I’ve been wandering hatless in a blizzard.
Anyway, that hair up there is some of the last bits of the charade. Thanks to the lockdowns and isolation and now my gasping-for-air budget, hair care as I knew it is over. I kept the hair, tho. Creepy? Maybe. But why not use it, mixed into paint, for texture? Why not give it a new purpose?
That applies to the honeycomb cardboard packing insert, too. I saved it from recycling to use it as a painting tool. I’ll press it into paint and then stamp the edges on the ground. Whatever it looks like ought to be interesting!