Friday, January 13, 2006

David and Genevieve in Paris. 2. One Glimpses, One Obsesses

An artist sketches. Color, composition, polemics come later. First comes the drawing. Every artist knows where art begins and praises the pure act of drawing. Tintoretto: “Beautiful colors can be bought in any shop but good drawing can only be purchased with the artist’s flesh after years of patient study and sleepless nights.” Dali: “Drawing is the honesty of art because there is no possibility of cheating.”

The artist in Paris sits and sketches because that is the honest thing to do, because it builds his muscles, because it leads him to his compositions, because it is his joy and his passion. No matter if his love is iron sculpture, totem poles, surrealistic ceramics, or the palest watercolors: he pulls out his pad and draws one line after another. So a drawing emerges, that precious thing Gauguin called “the artist’s secret.”

Genevieve is a little nervous about sketching in public. She calls this her “shyness” and suspects that it will have negative consequences on her life as a painter. Aware of her lack of boldness, she worries that she will paint second-hand art out of an inability to speak up and speak out. She envies artists who are unafraid in front of a canvas and who seem not to care what anyone will think. She wants to get there: she wants to get to that place of alchemical boldness, exactly as much as she wanted to come to Pairs. For now, though, she sketches in hiding, off to the side, too shy to make her presence felt. Everything she sketches feels like a glimpse.

David is a bundle of intensity. He is so wired and wound up that he gets rashes from obsessing about the look of this, the meaning of that. He can hardly sleep, so much is on his mind. Therefore you can find him sketching in the dark, like Van Gogh, who would tape a candle to his forehead so as to be able to sketch and paint at night. David is all in a frenzy, though sometimes that frenzy looks like absolute stillness, as he stands, stares at something—even on a pitch black night—and sketches.

Genevieve has gone to bed early, just a little sad. David has been up all night, obsessing. They will not meet today.

“Drawing is a kind of hypnotism”--Pablo Picasso
“Drawing is the basis of art”—Arshile Gorky


Ash said...

Wow, just came across your blog...and it is the type of blog I have been hoping to find! I am addicted to blogs, but even as I struggle with making mine worth reading, I so badly wanted to find some that I enjoyed (and got something out of)reading each day...yours will be one of them for sure!
Thank you! You've combined my two passions...the written word and art...thank you,thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

I've read many things on how to overcome the fear of failure, and the dangers of the self-destructive inner critic, in creating art, but none have moved me like your book Coaching the Artist Within. Your e-newletters, and now your wonderful blog, have continued to guide me, like a thoughtful parent, to fulfilling my creative life.

I'm leaving a comment with this particular blog because I can see myself in Genevieve. I, too, am completely shy about showing my art to the world. My fear of having someone look over my shoulder is why I never sketch in public.

I wish I had your books and blogs back in '86 when I was a young woman savoring Paris.

Everyone who has ever wanted to create art should read your works. They won't have to live with the regret of being in Paris and not having sketched!

Atelier des Jardins said...

Thank you, Eric, for being on the planet and sharing your gifts of inspiration to us all. You are indeed
"muse extraordinare"!!!

Atelier des Jardins said...

Thank you, Eric, for being on the planet and sharing your inspiration to the rest of us struggling creatives!
You are, indeed, one "muse extraordinaire"!