Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Conversations with the Material

"I don't want to be here." My own thought surprised me. I sat in art class like had dozens of times before and instead of feeling nervous excitement or curiosity I just felt tired. I stared at the random objects I had brought in with the idea of drawing them: a toy car, some shells, a pine cone, a small lighter in the shape of a gun and the seemed awkward and uninteresting. Everyone else appeared sure and industrious as they set up easels or pulled out the pieces they'd been working on.

The paper I had brought in turned out to be for printing which meant that my ink would bleed and blot. Yet I like the paper's thickness and presence. What to do? After a brief chat about my materials with my teacher I decided to just go ahead with no plan. I have so little command or knowledge of art materials that I figured, at the very minimum, if the work was terrible, I would at least learn more about my paints, my paper, my pen and ink.

It became a conversation with my materials.
'What happens if I do this?'
'Well I react like this...'
Back and forth the wordless discourse continued, I navigated the grain of the surface and studied the lines and the blots. I experimented with my watercolors.

The result was a bizarre and fictional landscape.  A cliff crammed with line and pattern spreading to a dark sea. No plan, it just happened. I realized that the scheming and thinking involved in an idea can render it sterile because the execution rarely lives up to the fantasy, but if I act with only the vaguest of plans the results can be much more satisfying. It is something I need to explore more with my writing.