Monday, February 9, 2015

The Rules Of Making Art; And How To Violate Them.

Once in awhile I forget the sub-title to my blog is "My adventures as an artist...etc...etc...etc."
On a recent weekend night I went to hear my former harmonica teacher, Seth Holtzman, playing a "Blues" nearby Media, PA. with  his friend, "Johnny Never." They did their Art, and I did mine.
But as often happens, I soon realized I had mis-spellings in comments heard, and with one of Seth's hands.,
I'd totally ignored one of his fingers wrapped around the harmonica.
OUCH! Where is the White-Out when I need it? Pablo Picasso supposedly said ;"An amateur artist learns the rules. A professional artist learns how to break them."  This drawing will get cleaned up.

And yes, I have absolutely no problem reaching for the White Out, or whatever else will cover errors...bad drawing, mis-spelled words, to bring my drawing or painting to a satisfying state. Notice I did not say "finish," or "conclusion."

Supposedly Pierre Bonnard (my absolute Hero) would quietly sneak his paints and brushes into museums that had bought his paintings, and discreetly touch them up, unable to bring himself to say "Enough already!" (Not sure how to say that in French?)

I've often been asked, "How do you know when a painting is finished" There are a couple of fairly good answers. "How do you know when a conversation is over?" If the person asking the question is also flirting with you, the response might be, "How do you know when you're done making love?"  It comes down to a gut feeling, usually, that there is simply nothing left to do, as with this drawing. Lots of texture, cross-hatching,
values from white to almost black. Anything more would be redundant.

And the fun thing for me as I draw and the sketch evolves is reaching those moments when I must make a choice. Do I stay with a drawing that is open, airy, and just done in simple "line?" This drawing was done at Barnes and Noble. I liked how these two were separated by a column, each contained within their mental and physical space, seemingly unaware of the other. And I really loved the big pile of hair on the woman.
(It was bright orange.) Her "statement" about who she was begged to be confirmed on paper via my pen.

Taking this relatively simple drawing to the next level, with cross-hatching that implies a variety of "values"
(degrees of lights and darks) begins to describe the environment. There is implied depth and perspective to the column..These folks now share the space. Clothing has texture, shadows of lap-tops and coffee cups let us know where the light is coming from, and as a drawing made up of "Marks" on the flat surface of the page, the total image becomes more graphic  It's now more about the "shapes" of things, and less about the initial open line. I can keep adding cross-hatching to make areas look darker, and by comparison, other areas look lighter. As my boss at KYW-TV-3 used to say, "It's all a bunch of cheap optical tricks!"
And a judicial use of good old White-Out, when needed.                  


  1. Very interesting entry. I see you are working on your birthday Might as well do what you like ay?

  2. My Mentor in S. Jersey, Pat Witt, almost always makes it a point , on New Years eve, to "paint out the old, and paint in the new" as the clock strikes twelve.
    She sets a good standard, at 87 years of age.

  3. Ça suffit
    What about 'where is the darkest and the lightest thing in your picture?
    That black line on the far left...

  4. You always give me food for thought, Ms. PB.