Michael Leunig Wisdom

The Michael Leunig Website

His confession is a great little essay. I link to it here because it resonates so well with my experience doing the Thousand Sketches. I don’t have characters, but I do have stuff that appears off the end of the pen.

I have developed a deep affection for my abiding characters and symbols, they nourish me greatly. Many times since the duck and teapot revelation their strange antics and adventures have anticipated the course my life would take. I respect their integrity and eccentric ways to an absurd degree. They appear off the end of the pen, at that wondrous point of connection and delight, and place themselves freely in my drawings. They ask for things and do what they will. They surprise, disturb and inspire me. I observe them with bemusement and respect. I let them be and eventually I hear what they are telling me.

leunig

“I would like to place my mind inside the bowl.”

Click to go to larger XXXXXXX  image

#0954 Bowl
Larger Image.

This morning I thought I’d have a good shot at moleskine style sketchblogging. There is a tradition here I semi-tap into and is close to what I aspired to at the start. Sketches. I got a bit carried away and that is OK. I think I am finding style in this genre that I may be able to perseverw with for a while, especially once the 1000 are done.

The title “I would like to place my mind inside the bowl.” is not sketchbloggy at all, but a quote from the Thai Buddhist artist Montien Boonma who did bowl sketches as a meditation.

Art talk & artists info follows.

Continue reading ““I would like to place my mind inside the bowl.””

The Gray Slabs and the Holocaust

Click to go to larger 1944  image

#0915 1944
Larger Image.

Story:

I have been reading Robert Hobbs, Lee Krasner

The Gray Slabs and the Holocaust

There may well be other, heretofore unexplored factors besides Krasner) difficulty of coming to grips with intuition that explain why most of her works during the years from approximately 1943 to 1946-47 so often end up looking like gray slabs of paint, which she referred to as gray stones.

As Krasner explained, “I went into my own black-out period which lasted two or three years where the canvases would simply build up until they’d get like stone and it was always just a gray mess. The image wouldn’t emerge… I was fighting to find I knew not what.”

On another occasion, she referred to them as her “mud period.”

“I was saying, I paint. I paint every day. This is what’s happening to me.” Krasner said. I faced the issue very aggressively. I was having a rough time, and I didn’t care who knew it.”

None of these experiments with intuition now exist, because Krasner subjected them to a thorough soaking in the bathtub before scraping them down so that she could reuse the canvases.

A possible explanation for these dense, turgid works of the mid-1940s is that they were subliminal reactions to the mass murders of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe, which were then being publicly acknowledged in New York.

I think she is courageous just to keep going for three years with stone slabs! That must have been agony. I felt the loss of those gray stone slabs. I wish she had honoured her process more and kept them. This one is in my sketch of that story. One layer has “1944′ written on it. The time Krasner was in this mud. Also the year I was born, in occupied Amsterdam.

Hills6

Click to go to larger Hills6  image

0890 Hills6
Larger Image.

These images arose driving back to Christchurch from Mt. Lyford and being struck by the colour and flow of the hills. The first image took a while but then ad libbed more to do the next one and this one is an elaboration of a bit of the last one.

Landscape. Place. Wolf Kahn’s America : an artist’s travels has plenty of art talk to chew on as well as great pastels.

Here is one idea I like, gives a nice depth to landscapes & may lead to some integration.

These reproductions take me right to the times and places I want to remember. They serve also to document moments that the painter Robert Henri in his book The Art Spirit called “states of higher awareness.” Of these moments, Henri wrote, “The pictures are a witness.” It is dear to me that an artist’s pictures are thus the repositories of much more than what he saw before him. A picture represents more than what the conscious mind grasped – at the time – the so-called subject matter.

Wolf Kahn

Hills

Click to go to larger Hills image

#0888 Hills
Larger Image.

Have been working with this one for a while, resurrected it. Thinking about pastel. A while back someone said that my landscape pastels reminded them of Wolf Kahn. I managed to find a book by him the other day, and I love his work. One side in the war aspires to be a Wolf Kahn. I don’t think I’ll quit on that aspiration either.

Monday, 18 August, 2008

This image is availalable printed in a limited edition. It is available exclusively on Felt, a New Zealand Art & Craft website.

I have made the image square:

Click to go to larger Hills image

image felt art for sale site

Some of his Kahn’s images (poor snaps) follow.

Continue reading “Hills”

Circles & syncronicity

Click to go to larger Circles image

#0848 Circles
Larger Image.

Early hours. One more sketch – anything, before I sleep. I’ll doodle something.

But it does not work like that. I am in the midst of an exploration. I have been to New York. The doodle I swear is just a doodle. Yet there is synchronicity here. I did this a few days ago. I had a quick browse in a book on styles of art, and looked up Frank Stella, as I am just starting a chapter on him in Henry Geldzahler’s book. And there it was, my own doodle! It does give me a a good feeling, my recapitualtion is just about up to my childhood. Actually I think I am getting well into the sixties with the sketches, and the project as a whole – I think – is late 2007.

Can’t find it online. Will find it though & post a picture here. Now I want this book.

Later Monday, 24 December, 2007 :

image

And while looking at my image I just had to fiddle with it. Removed background – looks better IMO. It is on show: here.

Later: Friday, 25 July, 2008

And now look here, Lisa Rivas has made a stamp.

The art of art

Click to go to larger The art  of art image

#0840 The art of art
Larger Image.

My technical mess-up (the hard disk crash and subsequent temporary loss of pen pallet and canvas) led to asking again why I did not use real media to birth the images in the first place. That is an interesting question. Even if I wanted a website, why this digital constraint? I have answered that in other posts in a sketchy way… exploring the psyche in cyberspace. It is good to state it again as it is central. I have for years past thought about what has happened with the psychology of text as it has become digitalised. See my other blog: Psyberspace But images and art, not text on my mind now. The image is the stuff the psyche is made of.

I like art to exude some sort of consciousness about (a phrase I just picked up here), “the art of making art”. Art, in its important and interesting moments is partly (but not wholly) about art.

The shape of my work is becoming clearer. I am pleased with a bolder line in the concept. It is not a new line, but it is firmer today. Not having the PC helped to see why I missed it. I need to do every sketch digitally. Physical sketching is fine, but it is not in this project. It would be as if Piet Mondrian switched to landscapes.

I am on a narrow path, for all the diversity in the sketches, they have to be digital.

And what is the central line on that path?

To do digital sketches? Surprisingly no.

To make prints from those sketches? No.

I work with the relationship between the virtual & the physical. It is in the RELATIONSHIP – it is all in the relationship!

The whole 1000 are a negative, a template, they have a relationship with their children, their physical children, the prints or other objects still to be born. The children can phone home, each object has a number and name. Google that to return.

Relationship between the virtual world and the physical is the punctum, that is where I will do my obsessive sticking to the point.

Works on paper by West Coast Potter – reflections on stuff

I have seen his pots, but seeing his works on paper draws me in closer. I saw one at the Arthouse recently and made a note to look online for more.

John Crawford, Hector Pottery.

I would like to make a trip to the coast just to see these. The motivation is stuff. My interest in the physical. I want to see how people make prints and works on paper to see how I might translate (now there is a word!) my “templates”. There is another word.

(In ship building there is a early version before they make the mold, what do they call that? It might even be a sort of negative… hmmm my digital files are like negatives. )

Anyway I like his work, the content and the form.

An image follows.

Continue reading “Works on paper by West Coast Potter – reflections on stuff”

Layer Tunnel Pattern

Click to go to larger Layer Tunnel Pattern image

#0835 Layer Tunnel Pattern
Larger Image.

In a lot of art it is integral that one can see the process, in the strokes, or even in the glimpse of the studio. The tools are showing here!

~

Still don’t have my Tablet back. Do have a new disk from the crashed HDD, has a lot of good stuff rescued, but not the missing 10 days sketches. Yet. Back to the HDD Dr. tomorrow.

~

Far from feeling curtailed today, I am stimulated by the process of the technological and human failures (failed to backup those missing days – I was moving around too much to reconnect the external drive, so Second Copy would simply say “Drive not found” and go back to sleep.)

One good thing was a synchronicity while surfing. I found some digital art I liked. There is so much, and so much of that leaves me neutral.

Somehow they also got me sketching, thinking.

Here are 2 images I saw & liked.
Continue reading “Layer Tunnel Pattern”

Mondrian R2

Click to go to larger XXXXXXX  image

#0828 Mondrian R2
Larger Image.

Look no pen! This originated on the Mondrimat site. I did a bit of post-production in ArtRage 2 and also in ACDsee. Piet Mondrian is just one of those people I was thinking of who was cutting edge. Arrangement, composition even when there is very little else to go on, or especially when there is little to distract from the abstraction, counts. Not a new idea, but he made an art form out of that simple idea.

The software uses his rules, even though I don’t know what they are. So there is a bit of original Piet Mondrian in this! Though I confess to thinking Diebenkorn as well.

Related: Pollock’o’matics.

Henry

Click to go to larger Hentry image

#0802 Henry
Larger Image.

From a video, a documentary called Who Gets to Call It Art? by Peter Rosen. (review) This is the Henry who was …. well what? Some sort of mentor to Andy Warhol and David Hockney and a whole bunch of N.Y. abstract expressionists. Will write more here, and post work from both of those artists of Henry if I can find it, and hopefully one by Alice Neel. It is such a male bunch, but there were women and she must have been one, as well as Lee Krasner, they still fall away in the gender gap.

Have found some more:

Continue reading “Henry”

Break

Click to go to larger Break  image

#0796 Break
Larger Image.

I explore lines quite a bit. And circles and crosses, more coming up. A line is a lot. It makes a break between this & that. Boundaries. Gaps, barriers. I like lines. I am safe with a good line. The Thousand Sketches is a line and a circle, it is a boundary around this project, makes me work hard, but I know it will stop.

Lines, I have fiddled with this one, made it gray, this felt very blue. And widened the gap! Will post results later.

~

I just read an interview in The Christchurch art gallery Bulleting 150 Julian Dashper whose exhibition in Christchurch I saw. Here he talks about circles:

  • l notice that circles recur often in your work, not only with your records but also in your repeated use of drum sets and the (0) paintings. What is the significance of circles for you?
  • I first started working with circles circa (smile out loud) 1992. Another older artist had suggested to me that a circle was really the hardest shape to work with as it totally dictated itself. It’s difficult to paint a budgie inside a circle and for it still to look good, I guess. I just immediately thought,‘Gosh a painting that makes itself’, and rushed our and bought a compass. Circles also echo ideas in nature For me, and you can’t get more perfect than that (nature, I mean). Actually, the thing is, Peter, every artist has to start somewhere and I figure a circle is as good a place as a railway station.

    Mark Rothko

    Click to go to larger Mark Rothko image

    #0794 Mark Rothko 1
    Larger Image.

    One of the highlights of my gallery experiences was to see a Rothko in the San Francisco MoMA. He does something, one thing, fully. He was moved by his own work and wanted others to feel moved. He doed that. Seeing art live is different from seeing prints. or images on the screen. There is a lot of movement in the colour.

    More about Rothko, his work, and more about my sketch follows:

    Continue reading “Mark Rothko”

    Richard Diebenkorn

    Click to go to larger Richard Diebenkorn  image

    #0730 Richard Diebenkorn
    Larger Image.

    A sketch from a photo in the book I am reading: The Art of Richard Diebenkorn. Great book. Reviews on Amazon say a lot, and say good things about this book.

    I was struck by the Diebenkorn paintings in San Francisco – at the SFMoMA and at the De Young. I sneaked a picture. I will go on to say more about this artist & the Bay Area Figurative school. His work and a Matisse follow:

    Continue reading “Richard Diebenkorn”

    Kee Krasner, art talk.

    First a sketch, then some art talk.

    Click to go to larger Lee Krasner image

    #0696 Lee Krasner
    Larger Image.

    This is from a self portrait. She looks young. I like Lee Krasner. She is of course well known and associated with Pollock, and I have a sense that they were together able to become as creative as they were. Relationships count. Unfortunately she is not as easy to spot around as Pollock. I hope I have bought out her strength in this sketch. I loved what I saw of her work at MoMA though. I have some shots I can add later.

    I splashed out & bought a beautiful catalogue of a recent exhibition of her later work. I think it is about the best thing I bought on this trip. Found it in a secondhand book shop in Brooklyn.

    More talk & Images follow.

    Continue reading “Kee Krasner, art talk.”

    What I am reading, looking at…

    Blogging on the Progressive Grounds in Bernal Heights. Lovely place.

    Met with Eric Maisel here to talk over creativity coaching and such matters. I got some good tips for walks in New York. Art links:

    Walter Benjamin
    “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” – On Josh’s recommendation.

    John Molyneux with a post on Tracey Emin. Following on from a discussion about the YBA.

    Emily Prince And More from Emily. We stayed with Emily in Alta.

    The Creativity Coaching Association. Eric Maisel pointed me in that direction.

    Books:

    book

    Loved this artist at DeYoung

    book

    Josh’s recommendation.

    book

    Just looked like it explored well the life drawing I have been doing. And found an old edition hardcover one of this across the road in the Red Hill Bookshop.

    book

    Which I was recommended at the San Francisco drawing group, and browsed art Emily & Shawn’s.

    Been sketching here too.

    My day so far

    We biked out to the beach through the park, had breakfast. I put up the rest of the sketches from yesterday’s drawing group. Then I did a few fast still life sketches (next post?) Walked through the panhandle then up he hill to Haight, then along past Ashbury till I found this café: Rocking Java I like it. Yelp.

    IMG_5217

    And here is a sketch from the chairs in front of me. One of the eight still lifes I did today.

    Click to go to larger 8  image

    #0621 Chairs
    Larger Image.

    Art on the wall is interesting РGicl̩es by John Mavroudis

    This is one on the wall here:

    Continue reading “My day so far”

    Philip Guston Contradictions

    I began to make a post about my visit to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, but lost it half way through for some reason. But just one artist will do for now. Philip Guston.

    Amy introduced me to him. I am intrigued by the man, his place in the abstract expressionist world. When I walked up the stairs at the museum today there was a Guston, much more impressive than the web stuff!

    image

    The one I really liked, and the first painting that really drew me today was one called The Tormentors:

    Continue reading “Philip Guston Contradictions”