Saturday, February 04, 2012

No Dream's End

No Dream's End
Charcoal, Graphite; 6 ½” x 6 ¼”

Twenty years ago I composed photos as best I could in-camera, and that was that.  If a story or poem didn’t work, I discarded it.  Photoshop and Word have made editors of us all, and these days I’ve come to consider unfinished drawings raw material as well. 

Opportunities to revise a work on paper are much more limited.  Working digitally, you can save the original, save every variant you like.  You can only push paper so far.  Then, like it or not, you’re done. But charcoal and graphite are forgiving, and erasers are a wonderful thing.  I saved one of my favorite drawings with sandpaper. It’s a last resort, it doesn’t work often.  And I’m not saying which one.

When I’m burnt on a drawing, when I’ve lost interest or confidence, I shelve it, move on to another project. The longer a shelved piece sits, the better: When rediscovered, it’s fresh, found art.  New possibilities are apparent.  They may have little to do with the drawing’s beginnings, and little of the initial work may remain by the time a drawing’s completed. 

This is true of those pieces whose development is uninterrupted as well.  I don’t sketch and transfer; I don’t plan; I try everything in-drawing.  What works stays, but abandoned explorations and attempts (sometimes, lots) are still layered in there too, and they contribute to the drawings’ depth. 

If this sounds like my drawings are salvaged fuckups– Yep, absolutely.  They say a good carpenter knows how to hide his mistakes.  Mine are raw material, and I try to make something better of them. 

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