Dancing and Cussing

It occurred to me that I should probably say something about how I work and my 'process' of doing things, and by things I mean creating art.

I've long since been disabused of the notion that I have to do things a particular way to be considered a serious artist.  I'm pretty serious about my work without having to hold myself to the rigorous standards of other people.  In my art, as in all things in life - while outside input is well and good, it's what I feel that matters most.

My work is generally a slow slog with random bursts of speed.  I try to work every day, even if I feel like I have a block or am otherwise disinclined.  Sometimes the best way is to push straight through it.  This is the way I work with pretty much everything, from home repair and large crochet projects to art and writing.  Books are sat down in the middle with bookmarks, video games are played and saved, all to be returned to in good time.

When shooting, I try a lot of lenses, take a good number of shots and then sit back and sort it all out. When painting, I get an idea and set to it, then step back.  It works for me.   Now I have a better idea of which techniques and tricks work best for me because in the past, I had no idea what I was doing so I tried them all.  Books were read and tutorials were watched, the effort expended to get to a new level of artistry and understanding.

Sometimes I get to the point where I dance, because the work has aligned so perfectly and magnificently that it is better than any hope I had  for it at the beginning.  I dance in my chair, I point at the screen (or canvas) and sometimes, there's jumping.  There's almost definitely a woohoo! of epic, Homer Simpson-esque proportions.  I am jubilant and triumphant.  I have accomplished something awesome.

Every so often, I fail.  I try again, but the piece I was working on just won't do what I want.  I am unable to effectively communicate my thoughts to the paper, and it resists my best efforts to do so.  It isn't right, the colors or angles are off, and it gets past the point where I can save it.  That's when the cursing starts.  While rationally I know that no experience is a total waste, some experiences are bad and the product even worse.  They make you curse in frustration as you work, in defeat as you shake your head and put them away.

Let me share with you a dance:  This is Almost

These are slightly decaying flowers in a old glass bottle, sitting on my couch.  Not bad, eh?  I took this to test out my new pancake lens, which continues to be one of the greatest investments I've ever made.  I made it black and white, but it lacked punch.  I added a red-toned texture, but it still wasn't quite right.  The original shot had this great contrast of white and green that was missing, but it lacked the depth of the black and white.  In the end, I copied the original, layered it over the black and white to add in the green color and made it an overlay, then turned down the lights on the picture as a whole.  It looked like this when I was done - Commence dancing.

As for the flip side, let me share with you something that made me curse: Untitled Nebula

Full disclosure - I don't know when I started this.  It looks like I was trying to interpret a real region of space, but I don't know what inspiration I was using.  When I reopened it, I tried to work with it again, but it wasn't coming out.  It isn't truly a bad painting, but not at all interesting or something that I would have started in the same way now. Before I called it quits, I worked on adding depth to the gas clouds, since the star field was already laid down.  But in the end, none of it worked for me, not the colors, not the stars and not the shape.  I'm sorry darling, but you make me cuss and we're going to have to part ways.

So there you have it - the mystery behind my artistic process.  It is slow and there are mistakes.  There is dancing, and some foul language, but mostly there is learning and trying new things and scrapping old techniques that don't fit any more.  A process of refinement, and always in progress.


No comments:

Post a Comment