Monday 29 September 2008

Artwork Mondays: Art is Hard

Art is hard.

Last year I posted this:

The idea was a steampunkish device to aid the painter. I called it the Hyperferrule. Hooked up to the visual centre of the brain, it would enable me --uhhh, I mean the artist, heh-- to rapidly paint the image in their mind's eye. Swap out those mechanical finger-tip brushes, and the little arms could draw something using graphite and an eraser. Maybe a tortillon smudger would be in there too, to get some nice shadows going.

Lately, I keep thinking about this image. I'd love to do a self-portrait about it. Me, standing next to a canvas, one hand furiously painting, the other drawing. There'd need to be some stark shadows and studio light, an out-of-focus model nearby, perhaps human, perhaps fossil.

I keep thinking about it. And at the moment, that's all I can do.

This isn't intended to be a whiny, whinging complaint. I'm really striving for a lofty lament about the torturous and demanding muse so many artistic types suffer from. It's hard to tell the difference. If I was whining, I'd stamp my foot.

Creative blocks have never hit me. The more I sketch, or think about sketching, the more ideas start flowing. On my way home today, I stopped on the
Queen West sidewalk near Claremont, pulled out my Moleskine and had to sketch a full-blown image of a landscape while blocking foot traffic. I struggle a bit with landscapes, and this one excited me. Stay tuned for the surprise.

Art is hard. There's a steady flow of ideas and I strive to get some of them down at least a bit in pencil. Aim for something interesting and maybe if I'm on my game, someone finds it astounding.

I wish I had Degas' money. Idle rich, nothing to do all day but
paint vampiric-looking ballerinas and go to the track. Like many of the artists (and probably everyone) I don't have enough time. I have a full-time job, work with some great people and freelance on the side. The freelance is going well, I've got four projects currently on the go. They're a blast to do, people who really get me, I think.

But this Artwork Monday is all about the things unfinished, the ideas I haven't forgotten but I've left alone to wander and prowl about in my studio.

Remember this Dimetrodon-Sphinx?

I've played with it a bit digitally, to practice my digital work. I plan on getting a computer tablet later this year and I'd love to play with a couple of backgrounds. A mountain terrain, a street at night.

Over the summer I played with a piece I really enjoy, and in my head is filled with a soft riot of colour, Trilobitlepidoptology:
It needs some shadows, and colour.

Last year, I embarrassed myself a little bit trying to do a portrait of Richard Dawkins. I even emailed his website folks.
Then, I tried a different technique, and killed the drawing. It only exists as a digital file now. I can resurrect it, print it on canvas paper and paint over it. I meant it to be a diptych with Carl Sagan. I'd really love to get back to it, Richard Dawkins' writing has inspired so much of my work. A humble tribute, sidetracked for now.

There's more. A dress based on a fossil, sketches for a kids' book of aliens evolving, a trilobite graveyard...


Next week on Artwork Mondays: Art is Easy

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traumador said...

won't that make you a steam punk version of inspector gadget... if he'd been an artist. "go go gadget paint brush" ;p

Glendon Mellow said...

Only if I can style my hair that way and wear a fedora.

Prehistoric Insanity said...

I love Lady Extinction. I have a project coming down the pipes (in long term future to be honest... I have WAY too many things on my plate at moment!) that she might fit into. I'll contact you about it closer too, but I'd love to have her appear in something and thus cement her mythical role with a story to call her own.

By the by, Traumador is terrorified of her, and thinks she's hiding a meteorite behind the fin.

Glendon Mellow said...

Hey, thanks Craig!

You do seem a little busy at the moment. But let me know and my people will call your theropods.

Traumador shouldn't be worried about meteorites. It's her tree climbing capabilities that are truly deadly.

Jesse Graham said...

Hey Glendon! Yea! You should really get a tablet soon. I think you'd use it all the time. Even for preliminaries and sketching. It's great to be able to just lower the opacity on a colour and block the image in so fast.

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