Friday, October 12, 2012
The above Simon Laurie painting ("Still Life with Scraps") changed everything. Give it a look. Make an observation—an observation based on something you find interesting.
Now let me tell you a story. I love to paint. I love to paint simple pictures on small blocks of wood. I'll add a handful of words, then I'm done. A lot of my paintings seem silly—and I hope they are. But they're not ONLY silly. Something about the old fragments of wood, about painting with just a few colors, it all adds up to a kind of whimsical poignancy.
I also paint because I can't draw. In painting, I've learned how to hide my lack of talent.
Simply put, I'm afraid of what might happen if people discover I'm a fraud, if they discover I can't draw. But, I mean, so what? There's tons of stuff I can't do, and it bothers me not one whit. Weirder still, I find this to be the case almost universally: your average person is terrified—almost paralyzed—if asked to draw something and share it with others. Why is this? What is it about drawing that elicits such a deep phobia?
Whatever the answer, the other day I saw the above painting and felt a connection. I loved the simplicity. But there was also an invitation that held my attention, that kept me looking, that told me there was something just about to be revealed. But what? And then it appeared: I loved how flattened—how steamrolled—everything appeared, how so much of what I was seeing felt both geometric and organic. More than anything else, though, I loved how the artist seemed to have owned this perspective, this style—this choice.
And so the next day, at a meeting, I began to doodle (which I haven't done more than once or twice since high school). Almost without knowing it, I also had decided to own the rendering, to willfully steamroll everything—proper perspective and dimension be damned.
Below is the sketch I had when the meeting was over.
It looks like I drew it, but it also looks unlike anything else I've ever done. And thus I'm excited to sketch something in this way again. And, more importantly, I'm not afraid you won't like me anymore because you're now privy to my big bad secret: I'm not a gifted drawer.
I don't care. I'm not seeking talent. I'm just letting go.