I have developed a habit of planning. I am aware that my preoccupation with my own experience is entirely self-serving. I deplore self-absorption in others and consequently, often give myself a slap on the wrist when I find that I am being selfish or inconsiderate. Despite this, I do not seem to have a problem with spending hours fabricating plans for my own future. If I could somehow share with others what is going on in my mind when I endeavor to do so, I am sure that many people would be very much turned off by it. Though, really, this can not possibly surprise any one. This entire blog reeks of solipsism. As an art student and creator, I am self-indulgent.
Like I said, this is not a secret, but what is perplexing is my reluctance to look adversely upon my planning as I am able to in this post. I have noticed recently that I even plan ahead on a smaller scale. Last night, while I was showering, a thought crossed my mind that immediately excited me. As I was rubbing shampoo through my hair, it occurred to me that my thought could really be explored in depth. I grew enthralled at the idea of visualizing the situation and sentiments that implored my attention. This thought, this riveting thought, had the potential to be an experience! A source of entertainment! And at that moment, in the shower, I had my report card to consider. At this point, that topic certainly did not require further consideration, but to abandon it and move on to the thought that had crossed my mind would mean depriving my future self of a wonderful conversation, paired with vivid images and fascinating dialogue. So I saved it for later. I saved it for when I felt I would most deserve it. Possibly before bed. Maybe to interject an unfavorable stream of insecurity or paranoia.
So, in summary, I save thoughts for later. I do this daily. I refuse myself the indulgence of letting these wonderful narratives or thoughts play out in my head. I make a sacrifice, and I suppose this is the same sacrifice that I made when I dedicated hours upon hours to achieving a certain GPA in hopes that it would result in my admission to a university I would like to attend. And a sacrifice can’t be selfish, can it?
Strangely enough, upon evaluating the drawing 365 that I commenced two weeks ago, I noticed a similar trend. Within the first few days, I became frustrated because my figure drawings were taking far too long to complete. I considered my process while sketching and realized that the majority of my time was spent adjusting harsh and structural lines. There were so many of them because they were all searching. And what a paradox this is! Because these lines were harsh and thereby deliberate, but the abundance of them (10 or 12 of them, each searching and searching for the curve of the model’s breast) is really indicative of hesitation and uncertainty. After modifying bold dashes and abstract shapes that were nowhere to be seen on my subject for quite a while, I would end up with enough residue on my paper that I could begin to extract the form from all of my simultaneously tentative and deliberate markings.
This process results in drawings that I certainly do not dislike (see Day 1 and Day 6), but I would hate for my artistic ability to be limited to this tedious method. Additionally, this process makes gesture drawings and 5-10 minute sketches nearly impossible for me. I spend so much time planning away, being indecisive, and saving deliberate and expressive marks for later, probably out of fear that I would be incapable of executing a proportionate drawing by initially imposing these marks on the paper. This idea occurred to me while we did the figure drawing exercise in STAC that involved exchanging drawings with other students. Whenever I stepped in front of a new easel, my instinct was to wipe away any decisive marks. After viewing a few of the drawings at the end of the period and perusing a STAC alumna’s gorgeous 365 project, I grew determined to do away with all of the planning.
Throughout the past few days, I have been exclusively using vine charcoal and making decisive marks. I am endeavoring to do so by looking at the subject more than at my drawing and allowing my hand to function as an extension of my eyes. As my eyes scan shadow shapes and lines, my hand traces them, documenting what my eyes perceive as though my hand is drawing directly on the form. I, of course, now seek a balance between methodology and expressive decisiveness. I try to recognize shadows more so than lines to ensure that I am not creating inaccurate contour drawings. I limit the amount of searching lines on my drawing to those that encapsulate movement or direction.
I am allowing myself this indulgence. The indulgence of fluid marks. The indulgence of entertaining a thought as it comes to me. Of committing to a degree that appeals to me now.
Because really, it seems as though my quest regarding vocation is not different from my shower thoughts or my structural drawings. The range of degrees and vocations that I considered pursuing are those 10 or 12 searching lines–each of them bold and daring in nature, but indecisive in their abundance. Whether it be a journey to define the form or to define my identity, a five minute gesture drawing or a mere day in the course of my life, I am committed to making bold marks.