Monday, June 13, 2011

Through the Eyes of an Artist

"Hey Mama," included today, begin like so many recent works: trying something out. I bought a fresh pad of charcoal paper, 18 x 24" a couple weeks ago, and knowing my tendency to let paper sit for long periods of time without so much as a swipe of a pencil, I put it to use near immediate. I dared myself to think big, after all it's a large pad. I told myself to start a face and from a point I don't normally, so I begin with a nose, the left nostril to be exact. I liked the half-moon of it's development and continued to lightly render the remainder of the nose.

This was to be an experiment; funny thing about having a grand image in mind. With a great image in one's head, you have a tendency to over-analyze the smallest detail - or at least I do. It's a good place for me to simply allow the charcoal, colored pencil, pastel or paint in a brush to meet the surface and have at it.

But that brings me to the point of this entry: the artist's eyes ~ a fickled, critical being with a life of it's own! Yes "Mama" aint "easy on the eyes" as my grandmother-in-law used to say. She's got a big honker of a nose, eyes that aren't symmetrical and a chin that looks like she's wearing a feed bag under her mouth. Sure, I could pretty her up; I could take this image and store it away for future use, but right about now, I want "mama" to be who she is. It's the latest the challenge to my nature. As opposed to ripping the sheet out and tossing it, I keep it in an obvious place. I stare at it's lack of beauty, how the rendering seems like something a kid in elementary school would have done (though in grammar school I could not draw like this!). I look for places to "trim" and "highlight" and yet, there's always something endearing as well as misshapen about old "mama." Lesson to take from this? Trust your eyes; and then tell them "shut up!"