Friday, August 12, 2005

The Joy of Making Art

I guess this is something that writers, musicians and artists have in common.
I have been working on the centre picture of the triptych referred to in the last posting for quite a number of days and for some reason things refused to work out. For example, The background is black. It being the interior of dense forest it would be. For this I wanted an intense black. I built it up, layer upon layer. Rather in the way Mondrian made his black lines; endlessly repeated layers of charcoal and graphite. Barbara Hepworth, in her memoirs refered to this incidence when she along with other artists, including Mondrian, lived in London before the outbreak of World War II. She asked Mondrian why such intensive layering was nescessary. His reply was to the effect that he needs to have the blackness of those lines as intense as possible.
Usually this works but I was using an unfamiliar type of cartridge paper. The paper is very white indeed and is quite heavy at 300gsm. It just seemed to absorb the material in spite of me using 12B graphite. But 12 hours of layering up and suddenly it "gelled". The finished item is not 100% what I envisioned at the beginning but there is a harmony about it that is pleasing.
Its alovely feeling when it all comes together like that. There is an excitement about it that takes me by surprise every time.
Is this what it means to be an artist, I wonder?
I have watched musicians, from organists like Andy Sievwright at Hexham Abbey to jazz pianists like Duke Ellington improvise, invent and explare harmonies and other musical combinations, (sometimes disharmornies) until something beautiful, if unexpected is produced.
All art is a journey of discovery.

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