Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Some new drawings.

Here's some new drawings and sketches from recent life drawing sessions.

Doing what it takes.

Are you willing to do what it takes? Oftentimes I think that "success" or just accomplishing something gets very overcomplicated. Getting something done is pretty basic. You do it.

What I'm not saying is that it's easy. I'm saying that it's simple. For example, if you want to dunk a basketball, you have to get in good enough shape to jump high enough. It's not easy to get in good enough shape but as far as knowing what to do, it's basic. You have to discipline your diet and work out your body. The hard part is in disciplining your diet every moment of every day and disciplining yourself to work out enough to build up the muscle to do it.

Another example, let's say you want to run a marathon but right now you can't even run a mile. It's basic. You discipline your diet to be healthy. Then you run as often as possible as far as possible as fast as possible. As you push your own limit on a regular basis your limit becomes further. Soon you're running a mile. Then you're running two miles. Then five miles. Eventually you're running a marathon. The hard part is in eating less, or eating healthier, or running several times a week, and having the willpower to push yourself to do better at all times. Every moment is another moment to be distracted or derailed the same way it's a moment to be disciplined and accomplished.

If you're not willing to do what it takes you will never get the result of what happens when a person does what it takes. You can't be a master artist without practicing for hours nearly every day. You can't get into shape if you don't work out several times a week. You can't develop any skills to a proficient level without a significant amount of regular practice. If you're not willing to grow your own food or go to a store or restaurant, how will you eat? Of course, we're all willing to do that, but what else is within our grasp that we ignore?

This hit me with the Bauhaus project. When I started the project I had some fliers printed out to hand out to people but I was nervous to be the guy annoying people. I didn't want to disturb people or approach them. The first night I went, I sat at a table for about 90 minutes torturing myself with every possible bad outcome. Then I finally said to myself, "If you want to do this project, this is what it takes. If you're going to be an artist, you have to do stuff like this. So..are you going to do it or not? If you're not going to do it, you might as well forget being an artist. You have to do what it takes." So....I quit thinking about it, went and handed out fliers, did that for 26 nights, and completed the project. Doing the project was basic - do the drawings. However, the amoount of work was massive, it wasn't easy. (read more about it in an interview I did about the project http://www.earthwalkersmag.com/community/all-blogs/a-i-had-made-up-my-mind-beforehand-to-finish-it-or-diea-.html)

The point I really want to make is that there is no need to overcomplicate anything. Getting something done is as simple as doing it. Don't put it off. Don't waste time. Don't wait until you can take a class. Don't wait until somebody can come along. Don't wait! Almost anything can be done now. How often do we let our own mind convince us otherwise!

A recent example that inspired this post is the painting hat I bought. I've been doing a lot of plein air painting outside. Lots of exposure to the sun. I needed to get a hat that would keep the sun off of my head and neck, and be versatile for painting conditions. I needed a functional hat. Sadly, the hat that perfectly fit the functional aspect of what I required (so I can focus on painting, not on getting burned or sun in my eyes) is a hat that I would NEVER wear otherwise. I hate it. I can only stand that hat because it serves the purpose I need.

Sweet fancy moses! There isn't even the right words to properly describe a hat like that. HOWEVER, wearing the hat will allow me to focus on the painting, not worry about the elements, and therefore, paint better. Am I willing to wear a hat that I hate to paint better? Sure am. It's just another step (albeit a small, funny one) on the path of things required to get to where I want to go.

Ultimately, you'll never get what you want if you're not willing to do what it takes to get what you want.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Drawings

I've been working on a larger scale with portrait drawings lately. Here's a few new ones. Also started a new landscape sketchbook. Here's a few ink drawings. Sketchbook is 3''x5'', so the sketches are displaying at about life size. I've included a picture of myself next to the drawings so you can see the larger scale of the portrait drawings.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Why would anyone sit for a portrait drawing/painting?

Isn't that what a camera is for? Why bother sitting still for hours when you can snap a button and get a picture of yourself that way? Is there a difference?

A camera is great for capturing a literal moment. If you want to record all of the details of how something or somebody is exactly, in this moment, you need a camera. The camera captures every detail and records everything. The camera does not discriminate. It's possible through the technology of photo editing to compose, arrange, embellish, and reduce things in photographs. You have some editing power but what is captured is the moment as it literally is.

An artist experiences life and records the truth, essence, simplicity, and emotion of the experience. An artist takes something from the natural world and talks about it using their skill; be it drawing, cooking, music, sports, writing, etc etc. A work of art isn't just a recording of something, it's the emotional response and opinion of that thing told in the recording. In theory, the more skilled the artist is, the better able to communicate they will be.

"In art, intentions have no place; only results. In good art, the results do not have to be "explained"." John F Carlson

The portrait you get as a result for sitting for an artist isn't merely a physical recording, but a recording of the whole essence! It's a recording of your personality, your mood, your being. The goal of a portrait artist isn't just to capture a physical likeness but to capture the total likeness of a person. What they feel like, who they seem like they are, the emotional experience of being around them. Which is why I do not work from photographs; I need the experience of being in front of a person in order to attempt to put all of this into the finished work. My aim is to produce the most powerful work possible. It takes a little time to get a feel for somebody just like it takes a little time to execute the drawing.

A photo captures light reflecting on a physical body. An artist captures the experience of the whole person.

Also, to dispel a few fears, when sitting for a portrait drawing you don't have to sit absolute rock still; just relatively still. You'll be relatively comfortable. Typically, I'll have a conversation with whomever I am drawing.  The only real constraint is that I need to be in an environment where I can control the lighting (either in my studio here at the house, or otherwise). You sit for however long is comfortable, we take a break, and then you resume sitting. A two hour drawing doesn't mean somebody holds still for two hours without stopping, stretching, or moving. It's often a relaxing, engaging, pleasant experience.

If you're ever interested in a portrait of yourself or somebody you know, shoot me an email. I'd love to discuss your project. michael@michaelneverstops.com

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Upcoming drawing class at the Maple Valley Creative Arts Center

I'll be teaching a Fundamentals of Drawing from Life class at the Maple Valley Creative Arts Center. Class will run for 6 weeks, Thursday nights, 7-10pm. Class is 165$, which includes the 20$ deposit to hold your space in the class. The class will run as soon as we get 5 people enrolled. I've run the class 3 times so far and it's been a blast. I will cover procedure, simplification, measurement, simplification, values, and learning how to see!

Email me if you have any questions, and check out the website at the Maple Valley Creative Arts Center http://www.maplevalleyarts.com/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=181069&module_id=53680