Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hope is the thing with feathers....

Hope... is a mixed media piece in progress. It is based on an Emily Dickinson poem. I first shared it with you a month or so ago and have finally gotten around to adding the text to the piece. So I thought I'd show you the updated version! It's been slow in coming which bothers me but I know that setting it aside until I know where to go next is the best choice.

In fact, there always seems to be a place where the piece feels unbalanced somehow and although I know enough to trust myself and just work through it, those times are still unsettling. But there are times, like the Hope piece, when keeping going isn't the right choice. Leaving a piece and walking away when I need to is more important. It's a skill I'm still working on. I've ruined many a piece because a forged on when I should have waited. Because with waiting comes distance and with distance, clarity.

Art is such an emotional experience that it is hard to feel caught up in a piece and then walk away. But that walking away somehow breaks the connection and leaves me able to look objectively at something in a way that was impossible just moments before.

A while ago I learned the importance of stepping back. I was taking a figure drawing class. I was visually following every line in the model's body as if I had a magnifying glass and was concentrating all my powers of observation on the lines I saw before me. As I was working my instructor came over and told me to take a step back. I was a little annoyed at the break in my session but did it. When I did, I noticed that by observing so closely I had a fairly well developed drawing but only in the one spot I'd been concentrating on. I had missed the poetry of the lines. By focusing on the technical I wasn't seeing the beauty of the entire composition before me. Lesson learned. I ditched the technical after that and my sketching grew much more fluid, organic, and really just lovely. The drawing experience was much more relaxing and frankly, my mood improved too. Maybe that's the secret behind the crabby irate old artist. They're not really like that. They're just concentrating on a bit and not seeing the whole. You never know. :)


Andrew said...

Your description of "the poetry of the lines" remind me of Clem Robins line "you are to be a poet, not a reporter, when you draw" from The Art of Figure Drawing. I like the analogy. It sounds like you have come to the same conclusion.

Jen said...

I love quotes- thank you for this one!!!!