Some things I've been thinking about recently: It's hitting me really hard recently how important it is for me to paint and draw from life and create work just for me. It's probably the most important thing for me to do. The other thing I've been thinking a lot about recently is focusing intensely on my teaching. I was just given an incredible teaching opportunity and I want to do the best possible job I can. I don't want any extraneous things and I need some things to be just for me.
I'm also reading some books (The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle and Power Vs. Force by Dr. David R. Hawkins) that are making me think about my own perceptions. It's all just stuff that I'm going through and I need to do it on my own and with those I love and who love me. I feel at a crucial point in my journey. I'll always be sharing some thoughts on this blog but I'll mostly be focusing on myself.
I was reading in bed last night and got up to jot down an idea I had about the similarities between reading, writing and painting. All three of these disciplines require concentration and most importantly practice. They all have differences, but can be very similar in their ability to transport the writer, reader or artist into a flow state on non-thinking.
I've been thinking a lot (as always) about painting and the fact that painting isn't about slapping paint around and expecting a beautiful result, it requires concentration, patience and a deliberate touch. In the same way that you can't read a book by running your eyes along a page, you have to be present and read each word.
As I said, it takes a lot of practice and I don't think it's something that you can develop quickly. I started developing myself into a reader early in college because I saw how much I was missing out by not reading. I used to read a lot when I was a kid and I always did the required reading in high school, but I wanted to really become a "reader".
I started off with this grand ambition of reading Moby Dick (unabridged) which of course is like trying to bench press 225 lb. your first time in the gym. Or maybe like trying to write a huge novel as your first piece of writing. In painting, it's like trying to paint a full length portrait if you're just starting out. You need to start small and build up the muscles.
So I started out with smaller books and worked my way up to longer, more complex, ones-- my favorite of which is IQ84 by Haruki Murakami, which is just under 1000 pages and took me 6 months to read. I'm not a fast reader, but I read consistently and make deliberate progress.
I hope this comparison sheds some light on different ways to think about art and how it's never easy (nor should it be).
There were a lot of ups and downs for 2018. There were good times and positives, such as traveling to Spain, getting my full-time position teaching studio art at Ridgewood High School, hitting new strength goals in the gym, painting and drawing a lot and reading some good books. But it seemed like 2018 had mostly negatives. I went through a very difficult breakup, I cut ties with some old friends, two of my pets died and the year ended with some low-life stealing my bank information. There was a feeling of general sadness that pervaded the entire year. So I'm happy that 2018 is done.
Looking forwards, I have some goals for 2019:
-Do a lot more paintings, including portraits of people I love.
-Sketch a lot more.
-Keep reading a lot.
-Continue working hard in the gym.
-Ride my motorcycle more.
-Skateboard more/spend more time outside.
-Meet some new people and make some new friends.
-Keep battling my personal demons.
-Try to be more of myself and keep trying to find out who I am.
I feel like I've never been stronger and my skills have never been sharper so cheers to 2019 (2018 can go jump in a lake) and I wish the best for you all.
Couldn't have gotten through 2018 without Cudi
Despite the rain today, I was able to get outside and do a small painting. It's another study of reflections and I spent about an hour on it. I used a limited palette for this one and I've started to think about what colors I need instead of laying out a bunch of colors; this method saves colors and forces you to think about more creatively about color. Also, if you suddenly realize that you need a red or whatever color, then just put some of that color on your palette. The colors I used for this painting were the following: Silver White, Chrome Yellow Deep, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Van Dyke Brown and Ivory Black.
I'm practicing my art as much as I can and I'm feeling happier. I think of these paintings as capturing moments that I want to remember in the future. I've always felt that good paintings capture moments much better than any photo could.
I'm getting back on track with my art and I've been reading a lot recently also. I'm currently almost done reading a great book called "The Republic of Pirates" by Colin Woodard; the book covers the golden age of piracy (1715 - 1725)-- I highly recommend it as a great read. The other big component in my life is that I'm going to the gym very consistently, which has been helping me a lot.