Tuesday, October 15, 2013

As the World Passes By

Just finished As the World Passes By this morning. The title comes from how I feel this morning and the fact that the people waiting to cross the street are just watching the traffic pass them by. This morning I looked through my newsfeed and just felt a deep pang of frustration. Later drinking my morning cup of tea looking at both this drawing and the painting in progress on the easel; I thought how odd it was that my work isn't political and that I don't actually express my political views on my blog.

That's not entirely true though. It's impossible in some ways for an artist's worldview not to come through in their work. My work is actually political, but it's not tied to the fashionable politics of the day that blow in every which direction depending on where the wind current is coming from on a particular day. My focus is on what it is to be human, the modern world and how I see the world (or rather my attempt to make sense of it).

I remember when I was in art school I had a drawing professor Jim Eder. It was my first life drawing class. He came up from behind me and pointed out that I was missing the subtle transitions of how shadows were criss crossing each other across the model's body. Once I saw it; I saw it everywhere I looked. Capturing it became an insane challenge for me. I quickly learned to keep my drawings loose and not to commit to early to strong heavy shadows. I noted that as the model's pose would progress that more shadows and highlights would reveal themselves to my eyes. Almost as if my eyes needed and adjustment period. I soon learned as Jerry Shutte another life drawing and painting professor taught, that after a pose is held the model will succumb to gravity and their body weight will shift as a result. It became important to either wait for that shift or quickly capture the initial moment. Becoming an artist is more about learning to "see" than learning to master your materials.

When I look at any of political issues that currently divide my country: the longer I look the more complex the problems seem and less clear the answers to those problems become. For me it's just like drawing or painting from life in that there are so many intricate details to capture that don't always show themselves in the beginning and that things are often so much more complex than they seem. When it comes to politics it seems as everyone wants to paint these problems over with a big broad brush of absolutes. There seems to be no middle ground, but in a world of grey...

I'll paint in my studio as the world passes by and hope that maybe my paintings and drawings with all their shades of grey will inspire others to see differently.