Friday, December 10, 2010

Fish Tacos?....365 Days of Drawing

I heard through the art grapevine that Master painter Jove Wang says if you are not inspired by what you are about to paint, don't paint. Or something like that.

This got me thinking... many days I show up and make myself paint (did I mention that 365 days of drawing I have been doing, no matter what?) when I don't feel like it at all. Usually something will 'flow' when I get my brush to canvas after about 15 minutes, especially with a strong coffee in hand.

On really desperate days, the promise of lunch at the local TACO stand near the studio works. Gosh, I think I have eaten scads of tacos this year and drunk too much coffee. I call this my own personal art discipline - and a bad diet art plan.

I enjoyed my teaching class at CAI this week a lot. But I wasn't inspired. The drawing was competent and the demo ok...but I was not feeling 'it'. The model was great too.

But I am still grateful I picked up my brushes. I feel I am cheating myself if I don't paint when the model is there even if I am not feeling inspired. Flexing my drawing/ life-painting muscle with a promise of a fish taco.

This study will join the other 2500 in the cupboard that I don't know what to do with.

Master Jove Wang has a point! I bet he doesn't bribe himself with tacos.


Marian Fortunati said...

Why is it I cannot read your blog posts without letting out a laugh!!??

Thanks, Johanna! Wish we could get together on Sunday. Have a great time at your gathering.

Portrait Painting By Johanna Spinks said...

Me too. Sorry about that Marian..Fancy a fish taco tho"?

FCP said...

Hi Johanna,
I agree with Marian, and wanted to add that I had the opportunity to study with Jove, and you are right. He not only avoids painting if he is not inspired, but said if he loses that "first feeling" in the middle of the painting, he walks away and abandons the work altogether. His explanation was that the most important thing you bring to a painting is never your technical skill, level of competence, or how lovely your subject is; but instead centers around the passion, energy and life you bring in that moment. So, if your focus and feeling are about how you can't wait for this challenge to be over (or tacos, or any number of things...) he says your paintings will ultimately carry that energy and reflect that to the viewer. He refers to it as painting with "no chi" - It is an east vs. west sensibility that is very profound, I think.
Good luck with the challenge, thanks for sharing your work and taking the time to share your thoughts along the way!

Portrait Painting By Johanna Spinks said...

FCP...I am VERY familiar with Eastern philosophy and Jove Wang sure has a point which I think I alluded to by saying I ended up with a dull head study. This yearly challenge has been about a personal discipline. Some great drawings have happened on days I didn't feel like drawing just because I showed up and DID it without feeling like it. Overall I think Jove is right. Art should be created amid passion for an optimum result. The challenge is almost done now. I know I have given it my heart and soul most times through the whole of 2010.

FCP said...

I agree with everything you said except the part about your head study being "dull" and certainly did not mean to imply that is what I see. While I think your "worst day" paintings are (literally) head and shoulders above the rest, you are in the marathon focusing on putting one foot in front of the other right now, and only later will everything "in the cupboard" hold a better chi for you. I bet Kevin Macpherson would say the same thing about his pond series, and how he sees it now vs. then. Even da Vinci said we should put some distance between ourselves and our work now and then, so we can come back with a fresh eye. But like you, I suspect his breaks were few and far between as he also knew the importance of discipline. Good luck!

Portrait Painting By Johanna Spinks said...

FCP! THANK YOU! I love your work. Great life to it.