Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Child Within

I have been experimenting a lot lately with techniques and images, and I feel like I'm at a very unsettled place with my art. At times, I feel like I'm all over the place with things, and that's perfectly fine with me. It's giving me the opportunity to try out all kinds of things to see what sticks.

I have noticed that my work has been getting more representational - more figurative - from the monsters to the faces that I've been pursuing over the last few months. In a small way I've been trying to move my art back toward the recognizable, but I haven't gone back to the highly accurate renders that enthralled me long ago. I don't seem to have the patience anymore to try to make something "just right" with all the complex shading and detail. I'm more into simplifying my approach, and I'm liking the direction the art is taking.

Over the last couple of weeks, two things have inspired a move into yet another experiment with a style and imagery type. I've been trying to tap into the child within and just let the drawings flow. The first source of inspiration came from reading Gordon MacKenzie's book Orbiting the Giant Hairball. The book is about the things he learned during his 30 years at Hallmark cards, and it is a very inspiring read. But it wasn't so much the words that have inspired my art, it was the illustrations scattered throughout the pages. These simple line drawings are reminiscent of the way little kids draw, and they intrigued me and mesmerized me. I knew that I need to try something like it in my own art.

The second source of inspiration has come from watching several of my students draw. As an elementary art teacher, I teach about 630 students a week, and some of my students amaze me with their confidence when they draw and the whimsy and character of their drawings.  These students have yet to be tainted with the "is this good" bug. They draw and create with such pure joy and spontaneity, and I've been trying to capture some of that with my latest experiments. I'm trying to connect with that simple and joyful quality, and I've been greatly enjoying myself.

So, when you start to see more works like the one above, you'll know why.

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