There’s a first time for everything. Jump in before setting the expectation of winning the race.
It’s not demonstratively skillful. It doesn’t solve a problem. It’s not a metaphor or a parable.
It’s an unapologetic play in color. No consequence. No applause. A moment in a rocking chair spent with a smile.
Out of necessity, in the absence of solid feedback, we learn to fall back on the reliance of subjective self-evaluation of the work that’s sitting in front of us. One of the many questions that needs to be answered isn’t “Is it perfect?” Rather, one of the questions that needs to be asked in the effort to make compelling work is “What feels good enough?”
“Good enough” keeps the wheel moving. Good enough lets us explore new ideas and directions. Keeping in mind “good enough” isn’t the casting aside aesthetics in trade of something new, “good enough ” frees us to make the work that expands our possibilities and find what literally feels right.
Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. It not good enough, but sometimes all the little bits and pieces, the steps, techniques, and the processes all come together and really, really work well. Sometimes, if we work hard and free enough, we get to swap good enough with perfect.
When in doubt whether an image is holding back… if it feels too restrained, too muted… my go to choice is to take an action that violates the acceptance of the image. Push it off balance. Create tension. Create a need for response and make the viewer question what they are reacting to. Create a state of arousal.
Questioning is a lived experience that acceptance very much is not.
The face is a landscape. It should be easy to see all the familiar features and note subtitle differences that makes each one different… faces are so familiar, it seems it should be relatively easy and intuitive, but instead it’s much wonderfully more complex than how it seems it should be.
A few months into learning to render peoples features and it’s inadvertently created a problem. Much too often during casual conversations, quizzical looks flash as I catch myself starring, mentally following the lift of a nose, the swelling of the lips, the shadows of the cheeks or depth of the brows…
“Are you starring into my eyes?”
“My apologies, Yes I am.”
“I’ve been learning to draw and I’ve been looking at a lot of faces lately… your face is very striking and quite lovely, my apologies for staring…”
It’s the start of a smile that’s reflected in the eyes.
Even if an artist feels that they are self aware, if working unfettered by self censorship, the shadow self will leak out into the work. As a member of the audience, it’s in these shadows that we find bits and pieces that we more readily identify with.
10 weeks into sober living and I absolutely LOVE this!!! Yes I still miss drinking glasses of wine or a nice stiff cocktail, but at this point it’s the tastes and the ritual I miss, not the drunk. Still though, I’m fully aware that if I’m given a choice, there’s no real point in having just one drink, so I choose none. Now I’m finding new rituals, new tastes, and quite frankly, having this particular monkey off my back is tremendously exciting, it’s already freeing me up to actually create new experiences. That’s the trade for not having my time and energy being hijacked by needing to make time to find a drink anymore. There was another pleasant surprise that’s popped up the past few weeks as well. With the struggle of addiction firmly in hand, my will power has returned and I feel like I can tackle anything, the thing is, I just don’t really have anything to tackle just yet. Yoga and the gym? Classes? Correspondence? Travel? We’ll see. Time to start making a wish list and working towards checking them off.
It worked, but only as a basic proof of concept.
The kitchen crit this morning after this test came out of the kiln went straight to the point… “There’s too much white space around the image that doesn’t serve the design. When viewed next to the brown of the rabbit, it just doesn’t work.” I can’t argue with the honesty of a teenager willing to put a voice behind what they are seeing.
The practical solutions could be to use a cobalt wash under the glaze to bring the values of the object and background closer together. Or maybe try a thicker application of glaze… Or (and this is my favorite solution) get gold luster firefly or stars made.
Just walk away. Find the work with new fresh eye’s. Eyes that aren’t clouded with expectations. Comparing work with the daydream that originally fueled the process can be counter productive. As a craftsman, discovering the work for what it IS rather than what it is not is challenging. It takes practice to learn to forget a work. Discovery at a distance is relational. It’s a treasure hunt of emotional triggers and tools of transformation. Let go and enjoy the depth and beauty of the world that’s been created.