Friday, January 13, 2017

Born of charcoal dust

The distillation continues, as today is the 13th day in the process. There have been 78 papers completed and 108 yet to come. I feel myself wanting to break my own rules, and at times I do. It is my process after all, yet mostly I stay true to the original idea, outlined in last week's post.

I leave out the yellow, focusing on the perfection of the charcoal dust and white. I stomp on my papers with my charcoal-encrusted boot and work with and against the marks left behind. I like reacting against especially, and I wonder if this is how I also live my life.

These fleeting marks and the work left behind excites me. At other times, I'm frustrated and want to do more to the paper even after it is deemed "finished." I keep moving forward knowing that it is more about the process than the end result. The papers are expressive and gestural as I remember lessons once learned, and once thrown away.

At times, I feel almost bored and have the urge to abandon it all and return to canvas or to paint on charity shop plates and neckties. This is another lesson of the process, to keep moving forward regardless of feeling. Innovate through the limitations; use the charcoal dust from the floor, stomp and kick the paper, draw larger, paint smaller, limit a severely limited palette even further.

I question myself as I work; why do I draw these interlocking shapes? What does this mean? Is it important? Is this work expressive enough; is it honest? Could I be wasting time? Is all of my art a waste of time? The paper's blank space allows my mind to run freely with abandon. Again, I keep moving forward, ignoring this chatter. If I am not relying on previous knowledge, this means also not relying on the previous bravado. I feel like a student again, unknowing and unsure.

I enjoy heading out the door these winter mornings and knowing that I have six exercises ahead of me; six places to become lost, six dreams to rehash, six thoughts to watch float past, six meditations, a multitude of ruminations and conversations born of charcoal dust, my hand, and heart.

This is not a waste of time.

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