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Day Four: #OneWeek100People, 2021 – Sketch vs. Painting

March 11, 2021

Day Four! Today I only did three pieces. Which is a bit anti-marathon-ish.

One was a dud, which I won’t show. The other two – well I like one of them! The other – less so.

I find these art marathons have a natural arc.

I start out sprinting – just having fun with it. Feeling a bit stiff, but enjoying the feeling of warming up. Soon enough you’re watching the images roll out under your brush like magic. You start to say, hey, these are getting pretty good – and gradually – you end up taking things too seriously.

Not just gratefully accepting the good ones as they appear, but straining yourself – trying to make great work ‘on demand’.

Loyal readers will know, I have an aversion to trying too hard.

You can’t make your best work when you’re concerned about success or failure.

The very act of thinking about the outcome creates an anxiety that holds you back from a daring move, that makes you afraid to touch a good-bit, or more likely, unwilling to stop when it’s truly great. You don’t always recognize it immediately. You hope one more (rash) move might make it better – and then – you’ve overworked it. You’re scrubbing-out or scraping-back, trying to save it – and you’ll always know you blew it, even if it looks pretty good in the end, and nobody will ever see what you had – before you lost your nerve.

But that’s the game.

We’re training our hand skills by running this marathon, but – we’re also training our judgement.

The more pieces you do in a row, the more shots-on-goal. The more likely you’ll learn to recognize when it’s time to push something – or – when you need to stop and let something stand as you’ve made it.

[Photo Credits to @uriah_forest and various unknown models]

I’ve used Uriah’s excellent photography as the basis of many of my experiments this year. Without permission admittedly, but – while I hope he and his models don’t mind – on the other hand, I feel a study from other artists’ work is fair game.

This is the nature of artistic practice. We need to look at things, and grow by the gradual process of absorbing what works for us and leaving aside what doesn’t. Any artist that says they’re self taught, or they’ve invented something from nothing is fooling themselves.

Ideally, we’ll find everything we need by working from life. But life today includes the constant stream of images on social media. For many of us, this virtual world is more rich and rewarding than our actual day-to-day existence.

There’s another balancing act there. The basic need to acquire skill – let’s call it your artistic vocabulary, versus later, the point when you should be thinking more about *what* you have to say, than the mechanics of *how* you will say it.

Ultimately – a copy is only a copy. It’s not a work of art. It’s a study.

So, that’s what I’m thinking about today, at the peak of this year’s #OneWeek100People. I think tomorrow I’ll just cool down and finish up the challenge with some pen and ink sketching. Thanks for giving me a soap box for my thoughts! I hope you guys are posting your work. I’ll see you all in the Facebook group!

Thanks, ~ marc

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2021 6:11 PM

    She looks seriously cold in those photos.

  2. March 13, 2021 12:26 PM

    Awesome work

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