Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Concerning the Spiritual in Art

Here is a photo of my latest artwork in progress. You can see that I sometimes begin by collecting images from various sources and assembling them into a collage. In this case, seven different sources. The collage on the left is the source for the drawing on the right.

At first the choices are random, but sometimes a theme emerges. In this case, I had been trying to reread Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Kandinsky. This is a book that I don't understand very much of. What I do understand of it I don't even necessarily agree with.

However, what I was thinking about while I made this artwork is that you often hear someone say, "I used to enjoy making art but I stopped because I wasn't making any money." I think this is tragic, and I think there are other reasons for making art than just for financial profit. Many times that is the first thing someone will ask an artist: "Are you able to make money doing this?" What I was thinking about while I drew this is that often the ancient people created art with spiritual motivations. I wanted to contrast examples of this with some kind of imagery that shouted "Art for Money!"

Kandinsky contrasted the spiritual artist with the materialistic one. I decided Mr. Materialistic would be drawn superimposed over ads for artists that appealed to speed in creating art for financial gain. By no means am I against commercial art! I just felt like making a statement about my own reflections on artistic motivations.

To get the right shape, my classroom window became a makeshift light box. By turning off the light in my room, the hall light made it possible for me to trace the shape I needed.

I pasted the ads down over part of the drawing paper. Now I was reading to add color to Mr. Materialism.
I wanted the ads to be seen with varying degrees of obscurity -- just barely readable in some places. This had to become a mixed media piece since colored pencil didn't do the job.

Concerning the Spiritual in Art
Mixed Media (Colored Pencil & Acrylic)

The drawing above is the finished work. Unfortunately, the photograph didn't turn out as well as I hoped.

As I said, Kandinsky's book is hard to read -- though it does have some good ideas to ponder. A better one on art and spirituality that has inspired me is The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Comics Art Lesson

My daughter Anna taught a lesson on comics as part of her Art in the Elementary class at Mansfield University. Part of the class involves teaching lessons to children in the community at Saturday Morning Art classes. The students really seemed to enjoy it!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Contemplation (2010). Colored pencil.

I don't think I've ever done a realistic self-portrait, so I did this one in colored pencil. I called it Contemplation, because it's inspired by Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer by Rembrandt.

This drawing table surface shows the process.
Here I am with the finished product. Come to think of it, this photograph is a Triple Self-Portrait. Boy, this one is going to be hard to draw!