Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Constant Blues and Battling The Art Of Portraiture

I haven’t posted for more than a week, the reason, either a case of the late winter blues, or one of being utterly spooked by LeBlanc’s Constant Battles. I took that sumbitch back to the liberry, leaving the last chapter unread. I did read the last couple of pages, so I know there’s no surprise happy ending.

LeBlanc is an academic, and the book, for him, is a way to show us what we’ve overlooked in studying our ancestors. For me, their benighted behavior is an allegory for our own, and it makes me think of something fictional adventurer Travis McGee said to Meyer, his economist sidekick: “Right now I’m...trying to work out a jigsaw puzzle where every piece is square, and when I get them in the right places, they make an abstract painting. But they also make an abstract painting any way I fit them together.” McGee settled on the right arrangement, and it was dangerous. For me the peril implied by our history of perfidy, is compounded with irritation. Where do we go from here? Not being able to solve the puzzle bugs the daylights out of me.

Enclosed, some recent drawings, good, bad, and promising.

The nice clean portrait of the young man with the soul patch, I did for the first of what I hope is a series of short newspaper pieces about busy and interesting neighborhood residents. Eric is a guitar teacher at the park building, with a plan to provide music instruction, something being scaled back in the financially strapped schools.

The double caricature is one whose subjects asked me to draw it. First iteration. The drawing of the man is on the money, the woman, recognizable, but hmm. Men are easier to caricature than women, because -- feminism notwithstanding -- even comical renderings must render them as desirable. How do I get a likeness of Lila that is as lush and alluring as she, and still a little goofy?

I think the messy one is the most exciting. I like the textures and contrasts. It is, in a word I have begun using to myself, painterly. On the other hand, I traded the clear and articulate quality, that I can get with simpler means, for excitement. I hope that the former will gel from the latter.

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