I’m tired, so this is a real quickie, but I just wanted to congratulate the winner from last night’s painting giveaway at my booth at Oranje. One @marclebryk will soon be the (presumably proud, happy) owner of Skia, which is one of my favorite smaller works and part of my whimsical monocle series. Congratulations!
To the rest of you, thanks so much for coming out and participating. If you didn’t win this time, don’t let it get you down. I do one or two of these giveaways a year. Why, even right now I’m promising a free 2×4′ all-new painting to one lucky fan if my FB fan page gets to over 100 fans by the end of the month, to celebrate my show at Oranje and my birthday. So, if you want another chance, why not go over to Facebook and make sure you’re a part of making that giveaway happen?
Part 1 of this series is here.
So, last time I started talking about my current slump, and my decision to look backwards to the time when I was at my most productive,and I gave a bit of the important history lesson about my girlfriend at that time, Whitney.
This time, we’ll move on more to the creative process and how I settled on the Monocle Series as the thing to move me past my troubles.
Once I knew I wanted to revisit my past, I did what any artist would probably do– I pulled out a giant stack of sketchbooks and started leafing through them. Throughout college, I always had at least one sketchbook on me at all times. I don’t actually recall ever using a lined notebook my entire collegiate run. Some people have notes with doodles in the margins, I have doodles with notes in the white space (which is hell on composition, FYI).
So, I went through several sketchbooks, and I started tearing out any ideas I’d had but not done, so I could tape them up on my wall. And, I started coming across the doodles Whit had left me in a few of them. And of course, it was an instant nostalgia trip that took me straight back to everything things were at the time (or, at least the closest my memory can reconstruct. I’m well aware memories are notorious liars and that that which we don’t skew out of nostalgia our brains probably do just because they’re too lazy to remember the actual details when generic memory constructs will do just fine. But I digress).
OK, so, I’ve been promising a return to the insightful, autobiographical work-in-progress feel I set out to accomplish with this blog, and I think we need to start with a little trip down memory lane.
In my college days, when I was a younger Zed, I dated a lovely gal by the name of ‘Whitney,’ who was insane. I mean, like really insane, but the fun kind, not the stabbity kind.
My Thesis Exhibition, "Sometimes They Opened Galleries"
Among the many things I remember about Whitney is that she was just absolutely unaffected by the usual self-consciousness handicaps that so many people get tripped up on. Her imagination was unhindered by any concerns as to how things would be received, and it was a brilliant sort of rebellion that I easily became wrapped up in myself.
It’s unsurprising that it was during this time in my life I came up with all the cast and designs for my ChickenBones comics. It was a good relationship for encouraging a sense of playful exploration and madcap absurdities. Without Whit’s influence, I have to genuinely doubt I would have been in a state of mind to create a comic about an anthropomorphic chicken skeleton in a nehru coat and cargo shorts, whose supporting cast included a broom, a vampire, a store mannequin, a wax statue of Abraham Lincoln, a 6 foot tall playing card, and a floating burlap sack.
So, as you’ve likely all noticed, I have not been on here much. There are a few good excuses for this, such as the week I was without my trusty laptop and couldn’t process any photos with my familiar and well-oiled workflow. But, that’s only part of the problem. A larger part of the problem is I just haven’t been able to pull all my mental resources together for a while into a coherent series of thoughts.
It doesn’t help that I’m also in the middle of an artistic slump, to an extent. I have the drive and desire to create more art than I probably have time to, but I’m just having a hard time coming up with ideas for content that I’m happy with. As such, I’ve been choosing to spend a lot more of my time and mental focus that I do have in working myself through this slow spot. And, I think it’s starting to pay off.
At any rate, there are currently two paintings sitting off in the “I’m living with these and deciding if they need more work” zone, and three canvases on the easel right now, so….
Here in a bit I’ll start putting together a nice and lengthy blog post about the Monocles series I’ve been working on (and which I just hastily dumped a bunch of in-progress shots for last week). After that, I’ll take the goal of this blog to heart, and I’ll start showing you the full creative process when I’m stuck like this, from bad sketch to bad sketch, and how I decide what to finally paint and why.
But for now… lunch.
Working on a new series inspired by the doodles one of my exes used to draw in my sketchbooks. Working on reconnecting with the younger, more freewheeling me that created ChickenBones. Find my roots. Also, still exploring so painting styles I developed during We Search For Another, you know?