Where to go…
I thought I might share the thought processes that accompanied this piece of work.
So here I am, in front of the blank piece of paper.
I use cheap paper of varying kinds to do my art work.
I hear a large exclamatory gasp from the art community – as they cringe at this unprofessional approach.
As a result of the poor quality paper – it means that sometimes I have to ‘sacrifice’ the luminosity enhancement that the paper shining through can give.
So to compensate when posting some of the pieces I have to add computer brightness. This enhancement means it can be a little untrue to the original (in this case there is little difference).
When starting to paint – I do not always wait for a subject or idea, but start to move the pen.
So in this case, I started to draw the face of the figure to the right.
Drawn with no pre-meditated idea of a naturalistic depiction, stylised rendition, or cartoon-like drawing, subject, narrative, or anything else.
As it turned out it became somewhat cartoonish. But then what is a cartoon?
Often my work combines a comglomerate of stylised genres. I like being this free.
So as I began to draw the face – I continued the body with no attempt whatsoever to get it ‘right’ -naturalistically.
In fact it was decidedly wrong (but I don’t bat an eyelid at this, as it is not my intention to get it right).
Proper anatomy goes out the window.
Then having finished the first figure – the ‘idea’ came to combine it with a large overweight gentleman, and of course, so large, that he needed help to negotiate the beach.
When the painting became a beach scene with rocks etc. there came a tension between naturalistic rendition and free-flowing fun.
Tension between drawing/painting things properly i.e. naturalistically and the – intuitive line balancing and shape arranging that I enjoy most.
The problem was – the figure was badly drawn if we think naturalistically.
Or comparatively – the surroundings were getting too naturalistic. And so I changed the figure in an attempt to correct it naturalistically.
I did so reluctantly feeling I had left myself no other option, unless I altered the whole painting to go in the opposite direction. But I could find no sense of direction, for this.
The figure changed and he now looked at the viewer, rather than walking away. Still drawn imperfectly, I nevertheless let it stand as is.
So the anatomy-less cartoonish figures and the semi-realistic surroundings combine to give a hybrid.
Surface unity with marks out of ten? Hmmm? – 7.
I prefer everything exaggerated so that the whole painting is rendered naturalistically out of step, but unified.
Or conversely naturalistically right and in step.
Instead – this is a ‘half-way house’, that, I hope, still might be working?
GREETING CARD STORE
I recently entered a Greeting Card store. A young lady was filling the wall racks with their latest acquisitions.
And of course she dutifully displayed the Christmas Card collection as best she could.
Standing at her shoulder I asked: ‘Do you see anything wrong in this display?’
She quickly scanned her handiwork, and shook her head. ‘Ah…no…?’ she responded.
‘There is not one card that depicts the Christmas Story.’ I continued.
‘Ahmm… no – its all secular now…’ pausing she continued ‘I quite like that…’
‘There’s only one card in the rack – that shows Jesus, and it’s an old Master depiction – with an added speech bubble coming out of His head…’ I said.
I could have added (but didn’t) –
‘And with no concern about the sensibility of any real Christians being offended, by the ‘joke’ expressed in mocking tones’.
‘I was brought up in Scotland…’ she informed me. But broke off her sentence at that point.
I think she was trying to tell me that she was aware of the real Christmas message celebrated amongst those in the background she came from.
‘Well I will be celebrating it for the real reason…all the best…’ I said.
So ended the conversation as I left the shop to go and have myself a large fish on a plate in a local restaurant.
In the restaurant, I shared my sketchbook with a little girl and her parents. My depictions in the sketchbook were mostly cartoons. At the end of her perusal I asked the little girl, which one she liked best? She intimated ‘that one’, so I gave it to her.
Her parents thanked me and offered some praise for the work.
They also received my card with this blogs URL.
(Perhaps they might just – be reading this Post?)
‘What’s your point, preacher man?’ do I hear you ask?
Oh many points could be made.
But firstly may I say: ‘I didn’t come up the river in a bubble…’ or live a sheltered life.
I have heard the name of Jesus blasphemed, for most of my life, amongst the work force and in other places.
And my response is not one of some narrow minded, fragile, sickly, Uriah Heep kind of character, who sits in his holy padded cell – deeply offended by a joke about the Son of God.
A depiction those outside of Christ love to paint concerning ‘Christian types’ – either ‘pious’ bungling, absent-minded, starch collared, cold meat, hand wringing Pharisees afraid to say boo to a goose or Saville Row suited, pristine as a new pin, Jaguar driving, millionaires sucking the people dry of their last penny to feather their own nest.
Their conclusion is: ‘Now we have sorted that out lets ignore ‘em all’.
Not being religious (by definition of the worst kind of meaning of the word), it nonetheless is a legitimate question to ask a Christian, if he is offended by jokes about the one he follows, and claims to have a spiritual relationship with.
Should Christians be offended by the secular hi-jacking of a celebration that clearly has the name (title) of the one who should be at the centre of the remembrance feast that it is all about?
So am I offended?
Offended? Well depends what you mean by offended?
Let me put it this way – you who are deeply in love with someone right now – how about I mock them and make some comments belittling them and pointing out their ugliness – how well would that go down?
How would you feel?
You see the mind that exhales such mockery towards your beloved – is so coldly detached from the person you are so warmly attached to – that it causes you to either be enraged, jumping to act and protect, perhaps getting into returning evil for evil, or perhaps worse, you come to blows with the offender, on your loved one’s behalf.
That’s what love does for you, right? Is it evil for evil? (that question would be for another post. But what’s going on in the heart is what should be considered)
But there is nothing new under the sun, when it comes to mockery and rejection of Jesus.
As we approach the celebration of the greatest Divine act of God since He created the earth, expressed in the following scriptures, we find a ring of authenticity loud and clear, ringing out the great message of Salvation: ‘Peace on earth and goodwill towards all men…’
AUTHENTICATED BY His mockery and rejection, because men loved their own darkness rather than His light.
If they have no need of salvation – THEN MOCKING AND REJECTION WOULDN’T EXIST. As there would be no sin to be saved from.
So the mockery and unfairness and lop-sidedness and rejection – proves the need of a Saviour, and authenticates His need to come to earth.
The one who is willing to take the rejection and yet lay down His life on behalf of His enemies, so that they will have an opportunity of turning to Him and seeing His love, accept Him, and His forgiveness, thus becoming one of His children and no longer His enemy.
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Sadness would best describe my response to the empty greeting card rack.
Sadness would best describe my feeling for the young lady stacking the racks.
As we look at this world falling apart by the seams, how can anyone for one moment, suggest that rejecting The Christ of God – has brought improvement to planet earth?
The greeting card rack is only a ‘metaphor’ for the bigger dilemma taking place, with increasing venom in the world, where gross spiritual darkness is covering the people.
Relationship. That’s what Christmas is all about. Now we can have a relationship with the Living God who came, so that He could experience what it actually was to be human Himself.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
And just as He came – He went away again (via the cross, taking my deserved punishment for me) – but sent the Holy Spirit to continue the work He had started – that of reaching the hearts of men and women.
My prayer is that you will allow the Holy Spirit to reach your heart during this time of celebration, and remembrance of Christ coming in the flesh.
THE FUN ELEMENT
I have periods of non-activity (or ‘productivity’ if you like), regarding my art.
This is 99% the result of either doing other things, and not having the time, or in the winter not wanting to go and heat my ‘studio’ (i.e. shed 😎)
It almost never – is the result of the painter’s equivalent of ‘writer’s block’.
Simply because my paintings start with anything. I do not spend hours deliberating over subject matter, pre-planned composition, preliminary studies, or photoshoots until a choice image arrives in my decision making channel.
In earlier work of course the ‘normal’ paths were sometimes followed and the paragraph (written above) isn’t a definitive conclusion, else even this expressed ‘freedom’ is restrictive.
Anything will do – “why there is a shoe on the cover of a magazine peeking out from a bunch of magazines…
How about a painting of a shoe then? Why not”.
It will get lost or absorbed of course, amongst the multitude of marks and washes and intuitive decisions based on often illogical (or if you like academically incorrect) thought processes – once the painting begins.
The one-trick pony has started his ‘trot’.
Picasso was a great doodler. It is not a statement of artistic ‘political correctness’ to say so. To liken the master to a doodler – that’s a no no.
You are immediately ex-communicated from any elitist art world circles you might purport to feel part of, by such an amateurish description of the maestro.
There is for me, not a lot to admire in Pablo the man. But his inventiveness as an artist produced great designs.
As the years go by – I seem to leave much art jargon behind. I have read, understood and appreciated much of it. But I balance the intellectual pursuit of art with common sense.
I think my purpose in this short post – is to simply say when painting pictures or viewing them – have fun. It’s ok to do so.
With or without ‘sophisticated’ thought, don’t lose the fun element.
Art and more specifically painting for me, is like seeing pictures in the clouds – everybody will see something different. And it’s ok to do so.
There are very serious artists. And if being serious and dedicated to art more as a craft is the yardstick to judge it by. Then I guess that relegates me to ‘Sunday Painter’ status. And I’m actually fine with that.
I think we are far down the road of time now, and the times they are a changin’ still. But we can appreciate creativity wherever we find it.
Creative enjoyment is a gift, not to be sneezed at – and for me it must include ‘fun’.