Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The shapes ARE driving me insane...

For the most part, life rocks. Not stones, mind you--it rocks. It's excellent.

I'm getting better at drawing. I'm doing what I love.  And I just landed a 6 month contract (doing software) worth some nice dollarage that will make it easier for me to pursue drawing.

But there's a fire that burns frustration into my brain if I let it.

I'm compelled to practice drawing every day. It's an obsession. A severe obsession. It's such that I almost fear it... which means I may put off drawing.... the very same drawing I'm compelled to do.

Though life has had its frustrations, I'm a very joyous man at my young-ish age. I never anger any more...

... except when I can't seem to reproduce the 3D, volumetric shapes on 2D surfaces that I see in my head. Or maybe that's the trouble... I can't see them sometimes.

And that drives me nuts!

Fortunately tonight, as a sort of cure for this madness... during one of these pencil tip crushing, pen throwing, teeth gritting times... I discovered patience. Patience is a pathway to my shapes. If I calm my gritty-word thinking mind, my visual mind will quietly take over and show me the way to the shapes.

I was trying to draw a dynamic, dancing girl. The movement was all too easy ... I can make soggy, scribbly lines dance on the page. But the volume was missing. It wasn't drawing. To my crack-addict subconscious, it was heroin.

I tried every dumb thing my analytic mind threw at me.... and soon I was crumbling the page. Page rage.

I sort of calmed down (whether consciously or not) and then remembered some abstractions (wedge shapes) and that straight lines help describe volume and direction better than curves. I slowed down, began using those shapes in conjunction with the whip-like arabesque (gesture) shapes, and the drawing almost made itself.

I was relieved.

Now THAT is what my post is about. This sense of relief after successfully putting down some volumetric shapes... body parts that looked 3D. To my subconscious mind, that is the Elysian field... the elixir of life.

I was supposed to do some cartoons (which is what I was studying for), and then do some painting. I got done with the frustrating episode more than an hour into painting time.

You'd think frustration at not being able to follow my schedule and paint would have been the irritating factor. Not so. It seems that if these shapes that drive me insane can come out on my paper on a regular basis, my deep, subconscious need to draw is placated.

My subconscious mind must be a genius. After all, if I could more easily throw down those 3D shapes in everything I do, then everything I do would be so much closer to professional, exciting, and neat-o. I would be closer to my ultimate dream of drawing mastery.

The non-shape stuff is easy (relatively speaking). Rendering is a piece of cake. Bringing unity and movement to a piece is easy if you have strong construction and proportion. Even if color (which I don't know) presents difficult challenges and I can't master it right away, at least with shapes I could draw everything I want to show.

Shapes drive me insane. I hope I can learn to draw them before that happens.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

So, Drawing is HARD

... in case you were wondering.

But it's not impossible. You don't have to be born with 'talent' to learn it.

Talent is a word that tries to wash away understanding and hard work. When someone (untrained) sees exceptional work, there is a tendency to assume that the artist has some ethereal gift. There is an assumption of effortlessness, because the non-artist sees the work from their own no-effort perspective.

Because of this, though, people have always been enchanted by good art... there's an air of magic and mystery because the artists devices are hidden to the lay person.

We all assume that our perception is rock-solid. Ron Lemen, an exceptional artist and art teacher, suggested in one of his videos that some of his art students--when making mistakes--can't understand that an unpleasing final drawing was their own fault. It was the students' own mistakes that led them to a bad drawing. Ron says he doesn't get that... but I kind of do.

We rely so much on our perception and will often tell someone else that they are wrong about something--even an authority like Ron Lemen--if our perception is challenged. People's perception lets them down when they're first learning draftsmanship, so they assume that an outside force ruined their drawings.

Learning art requires changing perception. There is so much to it that it may seem like an impassible barrier stands between the student and great drawing. But unless the student understands this, s/he may think that art requires talent. Art may, but good drawing requires many simultaneous skills which are acquired through hard work alone.

An understanding about drawing that I gained through hard work (animated)

The pathway to these skills is shortest when someone receives good instruction--instruction that lets the student know a) what there is to learn b) how to learn it. Then, the path is walked by the student alone. The best instruction makes it possible for the student to discover his/her own mistakes along the way... though critique and an outside eye is often needed to tune the student's perception.

The sense of effortlessness in a drawing or painting is achieved by a skilled artist. The lay person assumes that no effort went into the result, and that the work came about through either exceptional talent or tricks. Those who assume trickery (who also want to draw well) are the ones who buy thousands of dollars worth of art books and instruction, hoping that the act of buying stuff alone will supply them with tricks. Again, lazy perspective coming from a lack of understanding.

In the end, it's good that the lazy are barred from producing competent art... because the sane world can't support the visions of the lazy. There's already so much lazy writing out there on the blog-o-sphere (as alluded to in my first post).

Till next time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

You Can't See Me

In fact, nobody will. It's on a public-facing blog... but it's as secure as my underwear drawer. I could spill the beans. I could post all my darkest secrets. But this blog is as secure as a nuclear facility (or may as well be).

The reason is that nobody cares. Why does nobody care? Because there are millions and millions of these shouting voices all over the internet, and everybody's opinion counts (in their own heads). Because of this, there's no way to raise one's voice over the din without a tremendous amount of work or without some extra added value.

So if I offer something of value besides just my opinion, there's a chance this voice can be raised.

But again... nobody cares. If I want them to care, they have to care about something that I can offer them (or that they hope I will give them). This blog could hold the secrets of the universe; but because it's written in the same medium... the same template... the same pen as everyone else... it will be tuned out just like everyone else's.

So what this blog is is my personal revelations and journal, basically. 

Again... all my thoughts for free, and nobody's buying. Just me. And I've had enough of it already.