Self-Portrait in War Paint 3
graphite on Arches paper
18 x 17 inches
This is the current state of the third War Paint drawing. It is not finished. Actually, none of the drawings in this triptych are finished, as I have not felt compelled to take them off their little drawing boards. Something is going to happen with them; somehow they will interrelate, come together, either with a connected compositional element or literally put together into one drawing. I am setting them aside for awhile and waiting until I know what will finalize the triptych.
Here are all three together as I have planned to arrange them:
Plus, some details of the War Paint 3 drawing:
The new drawing that I have started is very intense, both as an emotional undertaking and with subject matter: although not by any means offensive or particularly disturbing, it is acutely autobiographical. I think it is best not to post this one until it is further along or perhaps even finished: newly started drawings are a bit like newly-born foals on spindly, unsure legs - not quite ready to weather the outside world until fully stable. I will let the drawing out of the studio when the idea and composition are more decisively out of my head and formulated on the paper.
Art in process is not something that I take lightly; I protect my ideas in the earliest stages because, quite frankly, when I start a drawing I do not always think about what I am drawing and I do not want any external responses during this embryonic stage of the artwork. Rather, I intuit the work on a more subconscious level and then, as the drawing is coming into more of a defined and recognizable state, I will gradually allow the analytical parts of my brain to explain and articulate the narrative. Frequently negative space and even larger compositional elements are not even resolved until the drawing is well underway.
It is a rather risky affair for those without a deeply realized sense of their own creative self or confidence in their own skill to show their artwork to others during the germination of an idea. I learned this the hard way during graduate school – I allowed myself to get caught up into what a couple of my professors thought I was, or should be, pursuing. The most damaging guidance came from the professorial type who felt that too highly “tight” painters or drawers need to be broken and “loosen up”. That damage was only compounded by the professorial type who decided to take a total hands-off approach to “teaching” without offering guidance or to even acknowledge the more banal and lowly sides of art education, specifically craftsmanship and, heaven forbid, design and composition.
I took some hard turns, had some ridiculous run-arounds, got side-tracked and otherwise lost a couple of years of my own art. But, I eventually found my creative self again: it was not bruised or distorted, rather well-weathered and tolerant of criticism, intolerant of prevarications and misguidance.
Now my creative self is welcome to suggestions and useful, sincere, and constructive criticism. But I am only willing to act on suggestions that seem to viscerally resonate once I am alone with my work in the studio. Since my creative self is also protective, I also know when an idea is ready or not ready to emerge from the studio, and this new one must wait.