Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye… it also includes the inner pictures of the soul. — Edvard Munch (Virtual Art Academy)
A few days ago, I visited the Contemporary Museum of Los Angeles (MOCA) and saw and enjoyed Henry Taylor Side B show. The exhibition was a retrospective of Henry Taylor’s work—primarily portraits. The work, The Screaming Head, 1999, stopped me. Similar to Edvard Munch’s work The Scream, where I felt fear, panic, and anxiety down in my soul. Taylor’s screaming head, I got the absolute frustration and angst the artist must have experienced as a black man.
In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.
~ William Blake (Art Quotes)
I keep bouncing between enjoying and learning and sometimes teaching, but at the moment, learning is taking precedence. Over the past two years, I have worked in Blender, creating models for Second Life. It is satisfying, but I don’t know how or why it informs my work.
Drawing currently is taking two forms—first, the multi-media small works.
Most drawings are about 5″ x 5″, some a bit larger. I also find 5″ x 7″ a good size to work with. They primarily are drawings using ink and colored pencils. I am becoming aware that these inked drawings are really paintings. The two elements I am paying attention to are texture and color. The substrate is another element I am experimenting with as well. I worked with found paper for a long while, which expanded my knowledge of my media’s response to the surface.
Digitally I am working with Procreate. This is a process and program I have spent time learning. The process starts with a doodle on paper. I am then photographing it. Next, I import the drawing directly into Procreate and then traced it manually. Found that method very unsatisfying. The surface of the iPad is so slick, and slowing down to trace accurately the lines looked slow. So finally, I fell on a method that seemed to do the job. First, I photograph. Then import them into Affinity Photo 2, create a file with an alpha, and export them as a png. Then bring the drawing into Procreate. It seems to work better for me.
The reason I like this method is that it allows me to concentrate on color. I can apply color and experience color combinations quickly. I knew that color exists and reacts with its environment or relative to the surroundings and background. But working and being able to apply color quickly and easily replacing color with another underscores for me how dynamic color is.
As I work, I am finding a spiritual connection with the known-unknown. I am sure that sounds strange to some. It is a meditative practice, not intentional, but it seems more of a by-product that I welcome.
In order to experience a poem, we must understand it; in order to understand it; we must hear it, see it, contemplate it—convert it into an echo, a shadow, nothingness. Comprehension is a spiritual exercise.
Octavio Paz, Alternating Current, p. 49
I don’t think I am creating anything as profound as Paz describes, but as I said many times in this blog—I am on a path, which is not totally visible to me. I get glimpses, but never too sure what I see. I do want to say that just because I post works of art, I do not think they are grand, that the technique is refined, or the lines sure and sharp. I know they are not. However, as I do and study my ideas, my voice and path will clarify. There is one thing I want readers and friends to know, and that is that I believe in a power greater than ourselves, and there is a piece, a bit, of that power, that Light within each of us. I don’t know if I am a theist, non-theist, pantheist, or panentheist. Whatever I am, I seek to reach, connect, and engage with that Light that exists within me… and you. I am saying this partly because I have avoided saying it in the public eye of art critics and peers. OH MY GOD! I just came out again. 😆
“Every work of art is a culturescape of you, your memories, the moments you spent working, your hopes, energies, and neuroses, the times you live in, and your ambitions. Of the things that are engaging, mysterious, meaningful, resistant over time.”
― Jerry Saltz, How to Be an Artist
Finally, I got a gallery set up. I have to explore more because I am still determining if the plug-in NextGen Gallery is worth it.
I am reading Jerry Saltz’s book—Art is Life. I like it. He is very entertaining. I am unsure if I like him, but he speaks his mind. He seems to have compassion too. So I guess I do. But he would be a challenge, I think.
Loved his story of himself laying down the idea of being an artist. He speaks of creating art… akin to meditation and communing with the unknown. His question about … Is There Great Art on Instagram?I appreciated that he seemed to honor all the artists working… discovering… exploring… and most of all, creating art as an unknown but still creating.
Then this article/chapter—Iconoclasm Now: Charlie Hebdo and the Lethal Power of Art. That chapter was a show-stopper for me; as a Quaker and even as a young man, I believed that what I created on paper, sculpted, and images I made, I breathed life into the work. So whether it is seen or unseen, it has life cause it was/is a part of me. He didn’t go there exactly, but when he spoke about the image breakers that believed the images that “the thing itself and, as made not by God, they contain demonic spirits.” So I identified with that some people believe similarly about an image as I do—the demonic bit … not so much. But as a Quaker, there is the “Light of God” within the work.
The short of it, I am learning a lot, and Mr. Saltz’s book is good. It is approachable and entertaining.
Yes, I am beginning again. Roughly a year and a half ago, my blog of 12 years was shut down by Blue Host because it was infected with malware. I mourned. It had over two thousand images taken or created by me. Hundreds of quotes I found meaningful and helped center my meditation.
After talking to former colleagues at Minneapolis College (MCTC), I found a new host and came to WordPress. com. They offered security to me and any readers coming to ArtChangesLives(Dot)Com at a reasonable price.
In the past posts that were saved and brought back, you will find lines of code that refer to images that once resided there. I decided to keep them there for references for myself. I hope you don’t see this confusing.
My pseudonym for Second Life activities is Tap Quentin. I named my Avatar after my first boyhood crush, Bobby Quinn. I just completed uploading many of my works to Second Life’s Marketplace. I invite you to view my works at my online store, Ephemeral Traces.