I’m overloaded. My head is so full of ideas and thoughts that it has gone silent.
Art is a great counterpoint to writing for this reason. Even the act of looking at works of art stills and centres the busied mind. The shift to the other brain creates harmony and has a re calibrating effect.
Simply put it feels really good to contemplate images, forms patterns and relationships abstractly like underground life forms or the moving pictures behind the eyelids when not in sleep. It feels like breathing deeply a form of meditation in a sense. Mostly it brings us into our childlike selves without which we cannot be adults.
Moving between the two I find keeps both oiled and fuses the potential for growth in each.
Cindy Crawford’s face I have always thought is like a Coca Cola logo. Its effectiveness. Its imprint hits our brain in the same way. The soft appealing curves of the familiar acceptable beauty, bold yet positive lines. To our brains it acts as a symbol. Marketeers know this. We make hundreds of associations with it.
Kate Moss too.
Her face is a badge as familiar to us the Facebook icon and as easily readable.
Open wide-eyed and angular like a hook to hang our dreams on. After twenty years it continues to serve. Cool, aloof unchanging and just this sufficient expression allows for a million projections in the eyes of readers and viewers.
The captivating pull of a certain set of features arranged artfully with text and colour
This drawing of the artist Francis Bacon in pencil is a study of a black and white photograph of the artist. It was the result of seriously intense concentration. It was a case of mapping out the dark shapes and plotting them on the page at times forgetting altogether that it was a face I was drawing.
It involved much measurement and cross checking from all angles to put the picture together. I don’t draw grids but use my pencil when I need to measure and keep track of distances. The grid is too mathematical. I want my hand and eye to be in the work as much as possible while striving for accuracy and likeness through paying strict attention to the relationship between the shaded areas.
It is abstract to work in this way because the face is dismantled into areas of light and shade and then restructured according to the placement of areas of varying degrees of darkness. It felt quite surreal when the features appeared and as they did I could get a real sense of being behind the face.
My inspiration often comes from my daily life. Be it the view I look out onto or the books and films on my bedside table. What lies in front of me basically. Books are so immersive I feel sometimes as if I am in a relationship when deeply engrossed in a novel or biography. I often forget that the material was only read and not exchanged in person and often feel compelled to return to the “conversation” with someone in my life only to then realise that the massive compelling subject that felt so lived came from the pages of a book. At times my experiences with books feel more real than my personal relationships in the sense that I become so captivated propelled to discuss, inhabited by them. They follow me in sleep into my dreams.
I’m an introvert. I also have a sort of empathy for inanimate objects. I speak to them and care for them like pets if they are particularly important to me. With books I love and have felt bonded to I often draw the cover or the author photo. It fastens the bond and the memories of the time spent in company of the book become sharper and more identifiable in time. The experience is expanded . Perhaps its covetous. Reading Herman Hesse‘s If The War goes on was followed with a ink drawing of the great writer.
This is a drawing from a DVD cover. In this instance it was more the striking image of the actor’s face that led me to sketch it. Studying a face from a photograph is an intimate action. In following the shapes contours and expression so closely with hand and eye a sense of empathy and understanding is transferred. I’ve noticed it on a few occasions at least.
A figurative work also inspired very closely from the work of another artist. The original painting was in a wonderful museum in New Orleans. Ogden Museum of the Southern Arts. A captivating venue filled with rich and inspiring treasures. It held a great deal of folk art which I adore art of the region I was deeply moved by my visit and would highly recommend visitors to the city to tap the into such an incredible resource. I often find art museums to be staid sterile experience this one had a decidedly different effect on me there. The building felt alive with stories and energy.
I took several photographs from my visit. It was inspiration overload.
I made this painting from a photo of a very powerful painting in that same museum. It stayed with me and I returned to the photo many times until eventually I felt the need to paint it myself.
This was my first canvas. Bought on the cheap in Tiger along with some cheap acrylic paints and brushes. The painting took several days. I enjoyed working on it a great deal.
I made a good fist of getting the colours I wanted early on and managed to recreate them again on subsequent days to a satisfactory degree.
The image both my version and the original is of a dark nature. The figures are solemn and the female on the right is ghostly a scary lady as my niece described her. A different outsider Gothic America.
It also speaks to me of a famous Irishman his wife and beloved daughter. I see James Joyce and Lucia in the pair on the left and in the spirit of Nora apart from them.
Here is my painting at a very early stage
And here is the original work. Sadly I did not take note of the artist. If anyone happens to chance by here and know of this work I’d hugely appreciate the artist’s name and the title of the work.