My goal for 2015 is to make BIG serious art. I have decided that if I want to make (serious) progress I must establish a starting point; and, so I have. What is serious art? For me it means: defining my focus. To do this I must first take an assessment: Where does my art (career) stand professionally? Define what main components need to be activated, engaged and clarified. This scrutiny had been done throughout 2014. I have been considering various directions. Now it is time to sort out my ideas and chose which ones have the loudest voice. I keep several journals. I write down my thoughts to actualize them. This is necessary otherwise the same thoughts circle around and I get frustrated and confused. Once written, I can relax and clear my mind. This includes sketches of designs.
Now I can read my notes to extract the essence. To make a preparations to accomplish my goal: To make BIG serious) art. Art that is fulfilling for me. So what did I realize from my writing? Graphic elements catch my eye. I am drawn to art (designs) that have a black and white or a minimal palette. Thus, I decided to stretch myself artistically and go with this direction; to specifically focus on a black and white palette. In addition, one of my on going desires is to make BIG art. One of the main aspects I defined that I admire is scale: LARGE scale art is compelling, dynamic and daring. Confidence is a must.
Many times when I finish a piece I think…
“I like it; however, too bad it isn’t LARGER”
I was completely confident that was an excellent choice and one I anticipated to be enjoyable. I began the first week in January. I have several versions going; however, none of them are what I expected nor am I happy with. Working in black and white has proven to be much more challenging than I anticipated. This tells me that this is a good challenge; I need to push through this.
My design wall usually has various pieces on it. I mostly use it for pieces that are in various stages of development; and some had been hanging on it way too long. I decided to take everything down and start fresh; no distractions.
The background is white. I cut a number of black fabric strips in various widths. I also cut strips from my printed on Spoonflower. The colors did not print as I had hoped. I like the design but the color is not true black or white. I have since learned that this is my fault not Spoonflower’s. The colors are a strange charcoal tone and dull white; an overall drab look. But, I decided that these tones would be perfect to mix with very black and very white. These strips are hanging on the freshly cleared design wall.
Surprisingly, I immediately knew I was in uncharted territory and this perplexed me; I didn’t expect to be challenged this much. I proceeded but there were a lot of stops and starts. I have no idea if I like what I have or not. The first piece is just there. I continued to work and add more pieces all day however; the more I tried the harder it got and I knew I was getting “fussy”.
Finally I had to stop; I wasn’t in the right mode. The piece is still hanging there today. I look at it each day but so far, no excitement. I have not given up though. I made some smaller pieces using the same fabrics and added some prints that (I thought I liked).
Again, I had the same experience. Adding prints didn’t work…the total effect is not original (enough). I began to fuss again; this is a red flag, so I stopped. Now I have two more on the wall and none of them excite me. Oh well, that is okay because often times this is part of the development, the challenge, the search. These may not go any further but they are (part of) the catalyst. I’m still motivated and that is what matters.
Conclusion: I need to explore black and white as value and be patient until a direction presents. I decided to switch mediums and paint values. I used a gelli plate and good quality smooth white paper. This was fun and spontaneous and the enthusiasm returned. I like some aspects that emerged. I see potential. Again, I looked at the papers for several days. It was as if my brain was trying to translate a foreign language; more pondering to do.
Gradually, I began to cut and combine pieces and still only a few pieces came together. I continued to work with the pieces for days on end.
Why is this so hard?
Next I decided to paint on canvas. I primed it with gesso and then applied black and white acrylic paint quite spontaneously. I love the results. I tore the linen into several pieces; I like the small compositions, but that’s the problem…they are small!
My original goal was to make serious LARGE scale art. I hope I will find the direction back to that goal.
I like the painted linen a lot. I have tried the pieces on various backgrounds; none have said “yes” yet. Here I used black linen (that needs to be ironed).
Next I painted some handmade khadi paper. It has a wonderful texture. It almost feels like fabric.
I used acrylic paint and India ink. I like the effects very much. This has promise.
The plan is established, now I will continue. To be continued.
Double click on the smaller images to enlarge.