I suppose I can take comfort in the fact that, in addition to helping clean out the junk room, today, I also read 25 pages when I didn’t want to (the majority of which were read tonight, in lieu of writing, here). At least this textbook makes sense — I can’t say as much for some of the other ones.
I think I’ve found that I really do need quiet and solitude to be able to study easily…which is hard when it’s extended periods of quiet and solitude.
At the very least…I don’t have to worry about a big assignment (or two) due by Monday: this much is good.
Also…I was able to find and take a peek through some of the drawing pads and random character sketches I had been doing…when I was younger, let’s say: these things go back to high school, and through my undergrad years. At this point I’m wondering if I always did have constant mental “noise,” only it was channeled into bits of storytelling. I used to attribute it to having such a high degree of intelligence (*cough*) that I would get bored in classes, and be able to pay attention by listening and taking notes, as I occupied myself also by drawing.
Of course, though, that was before the more serious troubles kicked in…
I’m actually kind of surprised at the level of quality I was able to get at in a lot of those sketches (it happens when one is doing it constantly and in narrative form: meaning that there are certain emotions one is pushing oneself towards expressing), even though most of it is linework. I seemed to have begun to progress into shading…and more realistic drawing.
I remember being intimidated around modeling faces, though (I am fairly certain I was still just working with colored pencil and watercolor at this time)…though when I put that extra effort into going deeper with my work, it showed. I was just…really young, and scared of messing up my images with color and shading/modeling. (tip: you can’t progress if you’re afraid to fail.) I hadn’t really taken any life drawing classes at the time, though, either: I knew how to cartoon (from copying manga), but that was majorly it.
By that I mean, cartooning is ideally a form abstracted from knowing first how to draw from observation. If you don’t know how to draw from observation, you won’t have the groundwork to create your own abstractions…and ultimately won’t know how they work. This means that when you try to go more realistic…you won’t necessarily know where to go more realistic, or how. It’s possible to end up using someone else’s formula for abstraction but not know why the artist emphasized and de-emphasized specific areas…and mimicking that without knowing the deeper purpose is basically…derivative art. Which, obviously, has been a trend in certain periods in Art History.
I’m thinking…either Baroque or Rococo as versus High Renaissance, though I can’t remember the exact name of the movement (this was actually a topic of discussion in one of my old Art History classes). What happened in this movement was that people would try to paint like the Renaissance, “Old Masters,” (though they weren’t as old, then) particularly where it came to human figures. The Renaissance Old Masters had perfected the art of drawing humans as they were built, and they did this through extended studies of the human body and anatomy (some study was actually done on cadavers).
With regard to the later artists who mimicked them, however: these artists’ figures would be criticized as disjointed and piecemeal. Someone’s upper arm, for example, may appear perfectly formed, just as a Michaelangelo, but the figure overall is being viewed from multiple angles at the same time (something Cubism later intentionally exploited, although Picasso, for example, could paint and draw naturalistically), and the shoulder and elbow appear to be physically dislocated. That is, to the perfection of the parts, unity suffered; and because of that, the piece became cacophonous instead of harmonious. Beyond that, people were trying to emulate past masters, to the detriment of their own expression. There’s a difference between putting down roots to grow flowers and cutting off a blooming branch — or arranging cut (or silk) flowers, that is.
This is — one of the traps — that I’ve had to deal with, which isn’t as evident when one hasn’t been through a few reps of Drawing classes and been snubbed by a few Art students. Most of my work isn’t figurative — but that’s largely because I got tired of drawing people. And I probably got tired of drawing people because of questioning why I was doing what I was doing, losing faith in myself…and, likely, starting a new medication (which happened right before graduation, and subsequently convinced me that I could no longer easily write).
But to be frank, most of that time just after graduation is either a blur or outright missing from my current memory.
And no…I’m actually not sure that I don’t have some form of dissociation. In any case, my life is more together than it has been for a while.
I also noticed something else, when going through my old sketchpads…which is that the paranormal stuff has been with me from nearly the beginning of the time I’ve been developing as an artist and writer. I’m not planning to get into this deeply in this post, but it is actually notable that I’ve been dealing with concepts of ghosts and “good demons” for about as long as I’ve been writing for pleasure.
I do have a set of ideas as to why this is…and it revolves around screwed-up middle school, high school and undergrad dynamics, along with feeling silent and invisible, rejected, in pain, and comforted by things no one else could sense.
But I’ve been over that history for a good amount of my life. The point is that this is not a new thing, and that dealing with the prospect of getting back into writing means that I’ll need to allow myself to get back to my roots…which means permitting myself to venture into territory I’ve blocked off for years. Some of which may put me into an idiosyncratic enclave; or maybe I should say, “some of which may make me unpopular with the people who encouraged my demonization.”
Obviously, there are feelings behind this, but I doubt that here and now is the right time to get into it.