Sparks

 

Some time to update at last.

The past few weeks have been a literal blur — I’ve been reading a lot, sketching whenever I get the chance, just soaking a lot of things in in general. The above sketches were from today’s sketch session at the Natural History Museum here in LA, a most wonderful place to sketch. The halls were dark and quiet and almost magical. I had a lot of fun wandering through the cavernous building, looking at everything. While wandering and sketching, guided only by my instincts as to what to sketch, I had lots of time to reflect.

I found that there was a much greater improvement in my work when I was guided by pure instinct. For several hours I simply wandered, stopping, looking, absorbing, seeing, touching. Whenever I found that urge to capture something, to learn more about something, I’d stop and draw. If anything, this way of drawing taught me that only when the heart is involved does the work truly take off. When the artist is numb or dead to what is in front of him or her, there will likewise be no magic in the creation. We must always be aware of our own perceptions, our own sensations, paying very close attention to what it is that attracts us. We must, as one of my teachers likes to say, fall in love with the subject. Otherwise we could just as well take a picture of it with a point-and-shoot camera. It is that spark of emotion, feeling, and consciousness that we are after, more than anything else. If we are not ourselves moved then we cannot move the viewer, plain and simple. Art occupies that unique position of being both highly mathematical and mechanical, and also being a highly passionate activity. It demands of us not only our intellect and our logic and our hand, but also our heart.

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