December 27, 2017
Three friends gathered outside a coffee shop. A young girl runs by, a small dog close at her heels. Ask each of the three friends what they saw and you will receive surprisingly different answers. Stories, whether told through words, dance, music or graphically as in a painting or drawing, come to life based on the life experiences of the audience.
As a visual artist, do you keep an eye out to see to the stories being told by the shapes around you? Or do you mold the shapes around you into the stories you wish to tell? Or perhaps, you do both. Which do you do more often? Which feels more meaningful to you? Which, more clearly tells the story of how you see your own life and the lives around you? Hmmmmmmm. Now that’s something to think about as we are all about to step into the experiences that 2018 will have to offer us.
I do both. I search to see the stories being told by cities and forests I travel through. Using pen and brush I explore more deeply to make sense of shapes and patterns, or I use line to caress the form of a structure, an object or a person I consider to be a concrete element of my own reality. Perhaps, if someone recognizes the subject of my sketch as a particular something that is similar to what I was depicting, I know our realities have at least one thing in common. That connection can feel comforting at times. My purpose for drawing and painting ordinary and extraordinary objects, creatures and botanicals is to keep m eye/hand coordination finely tuned and to discover unfamiliar patterns, textures and colors that I can add to my artist’s toolbox.
Stage Two ( detail )
The painting/drawing experience that I treasure most is when I tap into my inner reservoir of intuitive creativity, triggered by arbitrary shapes. Playing with line, value, texture and hue, I transform shapes until I feel a new energy coming from them. The illusion of movement and space that I create connects with my own energy and a story unfolds. I continue to uncover details of the story until the tale has been told and my hand is still.
How do I know when to stop? I don’t know when to stop. I choose to stop before the end of the story is told. I choose to stop when I’ve heard enough that I will continue to ponder about what might come next. I stop when I know there are still more details for others to observe that will bring the story they see to a different conclusion, one that is meaningful to them.
I’m now at the pondering stage of my story … What story are you seeing?
P.S. I’ve been asked what my technique is for this sort of painting. There are several short videos showing a variety of my techniques and other art-related videos on my Vimeo Channel: Click here for the art videos