I get in a creative rut every now and then. I can’t seem to think of anything new to paint or draw. Sometimes, looking at my books about art by my favorite artists, and essays by knowledgeable critics, gives me a boost. What I seek from my readings and reproductions of art from the masters, is a clue about how they came to ‘make visible’* their inner mental landscape.
However, I have not found this to be a fruitful endeavor lately. For example, my readings about Richard Diebenkorn revealed that he often revised his oil paintings by scraping off paint and adding elements that balanced his abstract compositions. Also, the scale of his paintings (on the order of 6 by 8 feet) is much different than my 9 by 12 inch watercolor studies. Although I’m certain that I will eventually understand Diebenkorn’s work and apply it to my own work, it is more frustrating that it is productive at this point.
Return to my roots:
My brother Mike, autistic, low functioning and nonverbal, has been one of the major factors motivating me to ‘make visible’ my inner state. My exploration of my brother began with photography, by which I hoped to capture an instant that would unravel a means of communicating. Later, through my painting I tried to bring my insides to the outside so I could understand myself better.**
Below is a photograph that bridged the gap between my photographic efforts and my painting. It is a long exposure of Mike at a party and captures his ‘otherness’.
Today’s watercolor image below may be a non sequitur but it is based on the principle of abstracting seen in the photo above.
This portrait does not express exactly what I had in mind, but it does include one of Mike’s stereotypical gestures. The reference picture can be found in the post called The Visit a record of my last visit to see Mike. Note that that this post may contain triggers, as my expectations of recognition were not fulfilled. This was very upsetting, but I intended no disrespect in that post.
* A phrase coined by Paul Klee, the great Bauhaus Master.
** I have thoroughly explored this matter during my first year of blogging (2013) and I encourage the interested reader to visit my earlier posts.