The above pics are some paper sketches that I have done in the last week or so. The first pic is actually a painting that made several months ago. I was embarrassed to show my people with their almond heads but screw it! It's what I did and there is something there even if I didn't totally execute it well. Just keeping things real, as they say. The rest of the sketches are just about trying to put shapes together based on what I know about composition and what I have seen lately in my environment or my ideas about things. When I can't think clearly enough to put a painting together I can usually sketch and cut paper.
That last pic shows a sketch that I made based on some reading that I was doing recently. I learned a bit about cofferdams and rolled earth dams which is what we have here near my home. I am fascinated by the idea that you could fill miles and miles of an area with water from a river and then hold that water there almost indefinitely (ideally). I can barely wrap my head around the concept. I also learned that all reservoirs eventually silt up. Also a tough concept to understand.
OK, here is what I have that could be interesting. I read a blog called Painting Perceptions. The latest interview is with a painter named Alan Feltus. If you are at all interested in composition, I encourage you to follow the link to the interview. The section I am talking about is about halfway down the page and is an article on composition written by Feltus. It's the clearest explanation that I have read so far that also most closely matches my own thoughts about composition (based on what I have learned to date). It's worth a read, I promise.
I am interested in this idea of how a person's initial start into being creative has influenced them over the years. I ask because I am genuinely interested but also because for a few years now I have been grappling with the question myself. Here is my own story.
As a child I am sure that I must have colored or tried to draw. As a teenager my mom bought me a book on drawing cats and flowers and some paint. My mom suggested art school but I believe this was because I was floundering badly prior to high school graduation and she (my mom) herself had taken some art classes early on in her life. I never did any sketching until my 30's and certainly only painted a few times. I never learned about how to paint or about composition or about anything else that was mildly creative. The thing I remember most, unfortunately, is my mom telling me that she could copy anything (this was in the context of doing crafts). It isn't her fault of course and she couldn't have known how that statement would have influenced my approach to so many things, both good and bad. Most notably, with painting, it gave me a false sense of being able to do something that is extraordinarily difficult. You can't get at painting through copying. You could I guess but what might you learn? How would you ever find your own voice and vision? The upshot is that I have been trying to overcome this idea ever since. My approach to painting is a hybrid of being creative (assembling things, ideas and putting them together) and technical skills (such as they are). It's why my approach could be seen as "intellectual". And it's taken me several years to even have a vision, albeit a loose and sometimes vague vision. Experience is required here and not just technical skills or the ability to duplicate. And you have to get beyond just thinking into the realm of actually doing.
So, do you have anything to share? Maybe you just want to consider the question? I have found it very helpful. Now go read that interview!