Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Keeping promises -- an art journal I owe myself

Moleskine makes a terrific, pocket-sized journal with bristol paper in a japanese accordian fold. Ms. Clarity got me one (Thanks, Melinda!). It makes for an ideal art journal: never intimidating, always a sense of play, expansive when you want it, and portable enough that you can imagine taking it anywhere, pulling it out on a whim, and either drawing what's in front of you, or reflecting on your response to your surroundings.*

This is just the kind of low threshold I need to keep my promise to myself: make more art, post more blogs, no matter how hairy things were. I've even abandoned my habit of 'care' in these drawings, accepting stray lines for what they are: unexpected vectors. I strive for spontaneity and a new way of expressing line and thought. Text is line. Line is line. The page is flat.

I know I'm not the only one who's been staggered recently by the vagaries of life and 'interesting times.' So, I'm not alone. Each of us seeks a way to return to basic principals. To core responsibilities. To reaching out, or plumbing new depths -- whichever it is that brings back our selves, our lives, our heartbeat. Here's to you, and everyone trying to keep the green shoots alive. You know who you are. You have my admiration.

Three journal pages

Are your furnishings plotting something? Sometimes, mine just have a look about them. Shifty, kind of.

... Gumby can squish himself into a ball, and extrude himself through the slit under the door.

Quiet time to read. All we really need is a puffy couch and a ripping good book. Or at least, the book.

*I did not accept monetary or other remuneration for this unsolicited endorsement. On the other hand, no one offered.


Melinda said...

Really great post, Edgar. I love all of these drawings, especially the one of Ell. You make the living room look good.

Little scared of that Gumby. Hope he's feeling okay.

Keep drawing. Keep watercoloring. You just HAVE to make the time cuz you know your family will drain the life out of you if you don't. Well, and work too.

SamArtDog said...

I'm glad to have read your post, Edgar. You're a very compassionate soul with a good sense of humor. What a great combination!

Always take all the art you can.

Elliot said...

oh dad, how i love your posts. and art. they're always witty, cool, and funny. i wish you would post more. i used to check when i checked xkcd for my evening funnies. anyway, hope you're having a good day, and doing more art.

Edgar said...

Melinda, I keep seeing these profiles of artist using graphite on canvas -- or that big ink comic we saw at the Biennial. It's a relief to see the other forms of expression given equal consideration. Some days, I get fatigued by the classical stuff.

As for Gumby, I guess I was thinking of Eddie Murphy's angry Gumby, and it got me thinking. And my art journal was open... so in it went. Just 'note to self:' kind of thing.

Edgar said...

Good advice, Samartdog! Thank you for visiting.

Edgar said...

Elliot, if it means so much to you, how can I fail to post more? Thanks for the 'yes' vote!

[But to be put in the same breath as XKCD... this is too much.]

Karen said...

I totally agree about the moleskins. I spilled turpentine all over mine recently and can't bear to start a new one yet because I've grown so attached to the current one I can live with the smell.

Gumby makes me laugh.

Your drawings look as fluid and spontaneous as ever. Such power from a little meandering line.

cohen labelle said...

You write and draw with so much humor and eloquence!! – I would definitely stick to that regime of having your moleskin close at hand – I would even take it to bed with you! it’s an impulsive thing to be struck at any moment with an idea – so reaching for your notebook has to be second nature, right there on your hip, your next best friend.
So why don’t I do that too? Maybe now I will. You’ve inspired me! Thank you!

Edgar said...

Gotta love the Moleskines. My whole family is hooked on them. Probably have crack cocaine in the paper formula.

Thanks for the compliments. You're kind!

Edgar said...

Marcia-- I don't know... it sounds like you inspired yourself. Glad to have started you down the thought-road, though.

I like the idea of having it 'right there on the hip.' My biggest problem is: pockets. The moleskine fits my pocket, but I never have a decent pocket for pens.

If only cargo pants and painter's
pants hadn't gone out of style! As it is, I barely have room for my phone. And what good is a coin pocket in my jeans in an age of debit cards, anyway? If I've got to have extra pockets, why can't I have a brush pocket, or an ink-bottle pocket? Mostly I have to carry around a ginormous man-purse.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Edgar,

the answer to all of your problems is Velcro. Velcro a pen to the moleskin and the moleskin to whatever you are wearing! Love these drawings, and your writing. You are a wonderful artist. The rooster in the living room needs to become a Mac. Trust me I know what I'm talking about. Yes, please more drawing and more writing!
Buy a whole bunch of lovely pens and stuff them everywhere. This has been my strategy. Sharpie makes short pens. Carry a brief case with a shoulder strap and put your drawing pens in there. I'm sorry but supplies can never be a good excuse again.

Love your work,

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

P.S. You know the van Gogh diaries. I love the part where he can't make great works of art because he doesn't have supplies. Come on! as Mo'Nique would say.

You are making history when you make a line, and we want more of it.



Linny D. Vine said...

Great fun, Edgar! I love when the mind and the visual play together. Thanks for sharing your playland!

Edgar said...

Velcro, of course. It's all about velcro. I do have a number of velcro patches in my hugantuan messenger bag. If I put enough in there, I could actually create a warp in space-time from which nothing could escape.

I don't know about "making history" when I make a line, but I do know that my lifeline will continue getting used up, whether I make one or not. So, I might as well make one in the time I have. But, you're right in the sense that history happens to each of us, one life and minute at a time.

Edgar said...

You're an expert at visual play-- so that's high praise. Thank you!

r garriott said...

Very funny drawings! Really. I look forward to future installments.

Have you by any chance read "Ignore Everybody: and 39 other keys to creativity" by Hugh McLeod? Surprisingly inspirational.

daviddrawsandpaints said...

You are right Edgar - every once in a while things happen and we get done in with these "Life Experiences". You either accept them and lie down, or you accept them and get back up again. A return to basics is often what is called for. Clear away the rubbish and start again. Drawing fragments of your life in a wee sketchbook fits the bill - a very good thing to do!

Edgar said...

Thanks r garriot - I look forward to seeing you again.

I haven't read "Ignore Everybody" -- I did take a look at his site on your recommendation.

I like Julia Cameron's works on creativity - she's full of wisdom. Although her puns are painful, she is snark-free.

Edgar said...

David, I need to tell you that you are one of my original inspirations for blogging: I saw some journal-trading that you and some friends did years ago, and it looked fun, supportive, and a lot like community.

daviddrawsandpaints said...

You know, Edgar, I met some very fine artists through that moleskine exchange, and still keep in touch with them as fellow travellers and friends. However, not all was rosey in that particular garden. Some people didn't know how to fulfil their part of the bargain and they let the rest of us down badly. I still haven't had my journal returned to me and over a year's gone by. I'm not saying I would never do it again but I would have to think hard about making that sort of commitment and effort.
To be honest I much prefer doing my own thing and looking at others, like yourself, doing your own thing. Collaboration is a double-edged sword. Freedom is bliss!
And I'm looking forward to seeing you produce some more in your sketchbook, just like you said you would.
Stop reading this and get on with it :o)
Your Caledonian pal,

daviddrawsandpaints said...

Edgar, please completely ignore everything I said previously, especially the bullying bit about producing more sketches.
You jist do yer ain thing and don't let me influence you unduly (ruffian that I am :o)

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