Sunday, August 31, 2014

Transition point - steaming soul dump

Haven't drawn or painted anything in 2 weeks now - after finishing that last one I developed an aversion to it. I suspect it was because my eye leapfrogged past my hand once again (referring back to Sycra Yasin's eye/hand development idea). When I worked out the new painting approach my hand improved (ability to make art), and when that happens you feel excellent - on top of the world for a while, like you can do anything. But very soon afterward your eye develops (ability to see your mistakes) and then you feel awful, like you totally suck and just somehow couldn't see it before. That's where I'm at now.

I believe breaks are beneficial, as long as they don't turn into stagnant periods. But only at certain times - and this is one of them. It's a transition in several ways - I've now spent a good few months on Conceptart, immersed in a world of artists all working hard and discussing art and growth etc - this has been a totally different experience to anything I've had before. So much more powerful than the time at the community college, which felt like kindergarten or day-care with no guidance and people just sitting in class talking for the most part (not about art) and doing all the work at home.

I also feel like I went from being a big fish in a small pond to being a tiny plankton in the vast ocean. I've always been one of the better artists in any group I've been a part of - in fact at the college was the only place I've been exposed to better artists, and that was only 3 or 4 people and like I said we didn't talk shop. But this has been deeply humbling. I'm like one of the worst noobs on the site - well, not counting the beginners.

Also I was deeply stricken by one thing. When I made a thread asking about tutorials for constructive painting, one of the top dogs told me he looked through my work and can't see any evidence that I understand the human figure at all. Or to be more specific, that I've spent any time drawing it from life, which is how you come to understand it. I was pretty dumbfounded at first, but I know not to just blow off something said by one of the best artists on CA, who was atelier trained. These guys really know what they're talking about, so I thanked him and tried to wrap my mind around what he had said. It was like a zen koan that I meditated on for a day or 2, looking at my Flickr gallery.

And suddenly I could see it.

The parts don't really mesh together properly, and are somewhat oddly formed. Somehow I had learned not to see that. All my understanding of the figure comes entirely from anatomy books, no life drawing (well, about 4 or 5 sketches). But now I can see it, and it's all I can see when I look at my art. Now I feel like some foolish little kid who's been imagining he's much better than he actually is, and presenting his crappy scribbles on Conceptart as if they're something to be proud of, when they more rightly belong on mom's refrigerator.

And I know the only way to improve is to keep going. I know I need to get back to it. But really I feel like the only way is to get into life drawing class, and to spend several years there. Massive setback! Well, not really, but at least a setback in my hopes - I was hoping to reach an acceptable pro level in a couple of years, but that's obviously out the window now.

I'm still hopeful I can get there in time and hopefully supplement my income that way, and maybe in 5 or 10 years even make it my primary source. But now something different is happening. Till now it was mostly desperation driving me - 'I need to learn this fast so I can start working in a couple of years'. Now I feel like, even if I can't ever do it for a living, I still want to be able to paint like a pro. It isn't just for the money now - it's actually a bucket list thing. I really can't see living my entire life out without becoming an artist of pro caliber. It's what I always imagined, looking at Frazettas and all the other art that sustained me through my adolescence and all the way to the present.

I think I'm still waiting for some of the distaste of those ugly revelations to fade enough that this aversion leaves me and I want to draw and paint again. It's fading pretty well now. It's like some poison that got injected into my brain and disabled me for a period, but it's losing its effect now.

I also feel like a break now is good because I need to switch up the way I've been doing things. There's something too  academic about the work I've been doing for my Conceptart period - I need to get away from that environment now for a while at least, clear my head, but not lose sight of the amazing ideas I picked up there. When I'm posting my work immediately after finishing it I always feel like my studio is a small glass booth on the sidewalk in Times Square or something, like the general public is filing past and watching my every move and thought. That's a very inhibiting feeling for me, and I want to just disappear into my sanctum and work unhindered by such ideas. Though I'm pretty sure I'll still be posting here - it's different since I don't get any comments here and I know hardly anybody ever looks at this blog. It doesn't feel public.

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