Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Freedom to Make Mistakes
A funny thing happened as I worked on this drawing, now in its third or fourth day I think. I realized that I was spending a lot of time trying to retrieve what I'd lost from the last version of this drawing that I posted.
I won't rattle on forever about that but it does seem appropriate for this my 100th post. When I started this blog, originally a web site, I thought I'd use it to write down bird sightings, thoughts on birds, nature and art, and maybe throw in a quick sketch or two. But as time went on I realized that my strongest interest by far was in developing my art and showing it here.
When I started this drawing I wanted to be somewhat improvisatory, as I've been through most of my artistic career. I had foregone improvisation to a large extent over the last three years as I took up birds as my subject. But something gnawed at me as I did so. I wanted to be true to the birds I saw but I wanted more artistic freedom.
I think I've finally gotten to the stage where I'm regaining that freedom. And one of the big parts of that freedom is the Freedom to Make Mistakes!
I think that may be what happened when I went back into this drawing to try to unify the background, so that it seemed more illusionistic and not so much just painterly markings with pastel. In doing that I think I lost some of the summery brightness that the drawing had on Sunday.
I hope that I've retrieved some of that. If not I think I have at least turned it into a finished drawing. And that is really what is important to me.
When I did abstract and non-objective work most drawings took days to finish. If they didn't then they at least took a full eight hour day. I was never satisified with what I did, at least not immediately. But generally after those days of work I was satisfied. I felt that I had a finished drawing. Paintings were the same but took weeks rather than days.
Most of my bird art has been done in much less time. Anyone who follows this blog knows that occasionally I still spend too long because I have ruined a good quick watercolor or two by overwork. That's undoubtedly true. But I think watercolor is a different type of medium. Most artists need to work quickly when using it. It just won't get better with continued work.
Pastels, charcoals and paintings are different however. It is possible to make them better with more work. It doesn't always work out, but even when it doesn't you generally learn something.
So that is really why this works seems appropriate for my 100th post. Whether it's better or worse than my drawing from Sunday I can't say right now. I'm too close to it. What's most important though is that I worked on it until I thought it was finished, really finished, like my old abstract works. Sometimes this is a painful process. But I think in the end it makes for better stronger work. And for happier artists!