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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Going Oldschool

Sometimes we get so caught up in our technology, it becomes a screen a barrier, something that stands between us and our creativity. We focus so much on the details of the technology that somehow the creative energy we had when we begins to dissipate. By the time that we have gotten the through all of the technical details, the creative impulse what we had the beginning goes away. We sit at the keyboard, our, fingers frozen in mid air.

This is not a rant against technology. Without technology you wouldn't be reading this at all. 

Sometimes, it is simply a matter of turning off the technology and going old school. Pencil, paper those antique tools of making our mark. Just as there is a thrill using new technology, there is also a thrill in the discovering the old technology. There is a certain visceral pleasure in the tactile and somewhat messy materials of  original art. 

I come away from my studio with hands that are stained with the materials of my art. I am physically marked as an art maker. 

I feel that we are living in a time of transition. And I am certainly happy to use technology to publish my work. I scan in Victorian lithographs, random newspaper clippings, and antique marbleized  papers. 

Modern technology can be a tool, or a trap.  May all your choices be creative ones.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rearranging the Crayons

Rearranging the crayons is what I do when I am seeking the Zone. I refill my palette, I clean all my brushes, I fondle the lovely tools of my trade. The simple act of touching my tools prepares me to be open to my creativity. My fingers remember making art, and that tactile memory triggers the creative process.

Have you ever rearranged your palette? Having the colors in the right places can be important, but sometimes we get stuck because we see the colors in the same old places, rubbing shoulders with the same old friends. Randomizing your palette can make you see new color families.

Some artists limit their palettes to three or four colors. This is usually based on color theory. What if you created your own new theory? I once did an impromptu portrait using three Crayola crayons in a restaurant which used brown wrapping paper as tablecloths, and which had crayons on the table for the use of children to draw while waiting for their meal. Well, I am a child, so I took the three crayons, and began to draw. But they were not colors which I would normally choose to make a portrait. They were scarlet red, violet purple and inchworm green. As I drew, something changed in my brain.

It was amazing. I did things in that drawing that I had never done before. And when I was finished, the portrait was possibly the most accurate capture of another person which I had ever achieved. Fortunately, it was the waitress, who comped my meal in exchange for her portrait. But that day I received something better than a free dinner...I turned on a part of my brain which has served me well ever since. Here's to rearranging the crayons!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Finding Mystery

Sometimes all it takes is picking up a tool. Sometimes the tool makes the decisions for you.

How does the magic happen? I have to tell you...I don't know. It is a mystery. The raw ability, the talent, is nothing without technique, and technique without talent is also nothing.

Much though I may rave about fIndng the right tools and materials, I must also admit that sometimes the art pours out of my hands.  I go away somewhere, to a place outside of time and space, and I disappear.  Somehow a connection is made between memories, perceptions, emotions, hands know what to do and they do it.

I downloaded an Android app called Magic Doodle, which allows me to draw with my fingers on my phone and tablet. I can paint with color and line. But that is not what I love about this app. Magic Doodle replays the sequence of my drawing in a video, so I can watch HOW I drew the image. And it amazes me...the choices which I make are displayed line by line. And you know what I find when I watch t1he video? I have absolutely NO idea how I do it. 

Art is a mystery.