One of the unexpected joys that’s come along with getting older is that I’ve embraced the view that it’s less complicated and much more interesting to allow myself to relax into my own opinions, tastes, and judgments concerning the work that I’m making rather than looking for affirmation from others by coaxing myself into conforming to someone else’s aesthetics.
Nico keeps looking at the green hair and wondering aloud “why? Why green and why didn’t I add any more clues hinting that the green blob is actually hair?”
Well… I didn’t much see the point making it look like hair because it obviously is hair and how many clues do I need to drop, and how much does it actually need to look like hair for it to count as hair? As for the green, it’s the color that unfortunately always seems on my mind.
I’m a reluctant gardener and greenskeeper… My whole fuck’n world is green. Why not her hair.
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.