My art was becoming like a clogged drainage pipe with sludge building within. The accumulation took place month after month, even year after year, at first imperceptible, later just slowing down, and still later blocked until it finally almost stopped. How did something like this happen? My intentions were good but that was not a full proof shield. How did I get into trouble? Perhaps from holding onto a premise that is not complete and no longer true. Is this not the true nature of trouble?
So, I had to leap from the sludge in order to get air. I had to jump, not knowing where I would land. This is how I approached this last self-portrait. It was not outwardly revolutionary, but previous premises taken for granted no longer ruled and enslaved. I was a free man. I could use what I knew and or what I didn't know. I trusted in where I was being pulled, not necessarily in where I was coming from. Nothing could be fully counted on accept this pull. All was risked and if the drawing was less, it was less for a good cause.
When it was complete my friend from the past Maggie saw it and said, “this drawing has a ‘sigh’ in it, an ‘ah ha.’ The back is bent, the chest is in, but you are breathing. It has the breath of life in it. In previous drawings you held your breath. In this one you breathe." Ah, to hear this was so confirming. Somehow I had made it home. You know how it feels (a rare thing) when you feel complete and at peace. The art was closer to my true nature than ever before. Tomorrow would be another day but on this day I was able to rest and take a deep breath of relief.
Writing 4. Breathing
Just read an interesting piece in they Times of 4/14/13: it's entitled "what the brain can tell us about art." What intrigued me ? "Alois Riegl, of the Vienna School of Art History in 1900, ...
Understood that art is incomplete without the perceptual and emotional involvement of the viewer. Not only does the viewer collaborate with the artist in transforming a two-dimensional likeness on a canvas into a three-dimensional depiction of the world, the viewer interprets what he or she sees on the canvas in personal terms, thereby adding meaning to the picture."
So now getting back to what I was trying to convey about your recent self-portrait - you are now allowing the viewer into the work. The piece is just not there to be "looked at" but rather to be "involved with." The subject is 'alive,' he is breathing, one can see
the air expelled from his chest as he relaxes into the pose. He invites the viewer into the picture, to see what he sees and what he is doing. It does become a collaboration (as Riegl describes). It's almost like a conspiracy wherein the artist says "Hey, come over here, no closer, come inside and see this."
This is very powerful and shows the difference between just drawing a picture and presenting an interactive world to share in its beauty.
Just my observation.