Post #1281 • January 23, 2009, 12:10 PM • 48 Comments
Despite all the gestural work that I do, I have a fierce realist streak, and it frequently demands exercise. I'll wake up in a particularly Balthusian mood and the palette knives stay in the box for the day. This streak waxed especially acute yesterday, and for the first time in years I broke out the crow quill.
Too, to paraphrase a line of Hanns Johst, when I hear about sophisticated conceptual strategies, I reach for my crow quill. I enjoy all the license afforded by the art world, truly, but part of me wants to make art that comes together like a good dovetail joint, handsomely and without flourish. This part feels prodded when I follow the art world too closely. Go and draw, it says. Get it right.
Sadly, I was drawing much better circa 2004-2006, when I taught figure drawing classes several times a year. Scraping the rust off is painful, and had the model not indulged me to take a photograph so I could finish it up afterwards, I likely would have junked this one. As it is, it's far from perfect. But there were moments when a grand erasure and a bold reattempt put something where it ought to be, and I would feel a private surge of victory. To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle, said Orwell. I don't know if anyone has ever remarked on the thrill of winning that struggle, however partially.
(I put this drawing on the scanner, so I have maximally sharp details.)