Friday, May 06, 2011

Undressed, dressing-down

The thing is, we are (by nature? nurture? both?) fixated on the pleasure principle. Standing in the light. Why is it so bad to be blind, fumbling, neurotic, unsure, desultory? (why would we want to dwell in lacklustery?)

Every time my focus locks on the next 'it' (the fun 'it', the soothing/acceptable/flashy 'it'), of recapturing the moment when I am groovy gravy, then everything else pales by comparison.

What I am saying is that I would like to be okay with boredom. Or average, pedestrian.

No okay that's not quite it. I am reading two books. One is on Vipassana. One of the principle aspects of the practice is learning how to step aside and just observe. Right. And to notice how we reject or ignore experiences that are displeasurable or average -- when in fact there is wealth residing in said means.

After a few weeks of intense study in panting (intense for me), I found myself once again becoming oriented towards not just improving and developing, but making The Next Greatest Thing. And guess what? My desire to paint has left the building. Part of it is frustration with my skill level, part of it is this weird belief that I'll never 'get it' so why bother. Part of it is......maybe I am in an ADD phase.

I read a quote somewhere, or a passage in that Vipassana book maybe? Or maybe it was on the tea bag tag, that boredom is fine, it's a sign that your mind is settling. In a time like now when I feel all jumpy, erratic and unfocused....maybe I should invite that boredom to tea (as Rumi suggests).

All I want to do is sit here and draw sketches of Tom Yorke dancing.

Radiohead - Lotus Flower

(embedding the video has been disabled at Radiohead's request but I recommend lifting your index finger, clicking on the link and watching the five minute video)

The other book I'm reading is The Undressed Art: Why we draw (by Peter Steinhart). It's on recommend from a fellow artist friend Jay Arrera. This neat little tome is like sitting down with a friend. I'm passing on the recommendation. From the book:

"I have been going to drawing groups for fifteen years. In these groups, I have made long-standing acquaintances and friendship, and it is clear to me that for many of us, drawing is a kind of compulsion. Every week, we drop family and work and go draw together. Most of the drawings end up in a trash bin. Few of us will ever draw the way Eleanor Dickinson draws. There is a dogged quality to what we are doing. We come back week after week, happy to see one another, grateful, I think, for our shared complicity in a doubtful activity. It is doubtful because its most noticeable attributes are nudity, desire, effort and failure. It's all funneled through a kind of meditative state that is internal and private, for the most part incommunicable except int he drawings themselves. It is by turns erotic and puritanical, social and narcissistic, uplifting and depressing."

He then asks, "What keeps us coming back?"

So, dear readers, what keeps you coming back, to whatever your art is, especially if you experience it at least in part as above?

I'm going to draw Tom Yorke.


flask said...

we make art because we want to express something of ourselves.

if we are made in God's image, we love to create, and who knows why?

and what's the point of a static, perfect creation? who could love a thing that never moves or changes?

when we make art, we are expressing something about relationship. my relationship; your relationship to your surroundings, to your audience, to yourself, to that apple over there.

V.K. said...

amen. I'm back in the saddle. Thanks for your words! :)