SketchbookScribble.09.Buziak.2

I’ve had three Canson A3 (appx. 16 x 12 inches in size) 100-page sketchbooks “on the go” since early 2013, two of them more or less filled now with what I think of as “expressive abstractions” using acrylic paint, watercolour, Conté crayon, soft pastel and oil-crayon… sometimes combining more than one as in mixed-media.

Around a dozen have been for sale on my ETSY shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/SketchBuzz? for the past year amongst other works (around 40 pieces to date) with compositions and colour combinations more easy on the eye, as well as larger pieces of more recognisable subjects… and four, maybe five, have sold… although not anything resembling the above scribble.

I use the word “scribble” because that is what this is… daubs of different acrylic colours with wax crayon overlaid afterward, all in random strokes which, now I can recall more clearly, was one of more than a dozen similar works made shortly before my wife died last November after a very lengthy illness. Was I influenced, or frustrated, by what was happening in my personal life? Probably!

When I try to do similar work now – by allowing my mind and hand to wander in sympathy, although not necessarily synchronicity – I’m hesitant and feel I cannot achieve the same freedom. At the moment the only conclusion I can come to is that artistic scribbling is not very easy to do… despite what casual viewers will imply when mentioning their children’s primary school efforts during art lessons.

But I know there is more to it than that, and a number of artists have achieved world-wide fame, or notoriety, with artwork which has evolved in styles which baffle many people… there being nothing new with that when one considers how Impressionism, or many of the other -isms, created shock and horror at the time because they changed and challenged the accepted safe concepts of art. However, two artists I admire greatly are Joan Mitchell and Cy Twombly…

Notes from TheArtStory.org… “Joan Mitchell is known for the compositional rhythms, bold coloration, and sweeping gestural brushstrokes of her large and often multi-paneled paintings. Inspired by landscape, nature, and poetry, her intent was not to create a recognizable image, but to convey emotions. Mitchell’s early success in the 1950s was striking at a time when few women artists were recognized. She referred to herself as the “last Abstract Expressionist,” and she continued to create abstract paintings until her death in 1992.

Inspired by the gestural painting of Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell’s mature work comprised a highly abstract, richly colored, calligraphic manner, which balanced elements of structured composition with a mood of wild improvisation.

Mitchell rejected the emphasis on flatness and the “all-over” approach to composition that were prevalent among many of the leading Abstract Expressionists. Instead, she preferred to retain a more traditional sense of figure and ground in her pictures, and she often composed them in ways that evoked impressions of landscape.

Mitchell’s abrasive personality has been a key factor in interpretations of her painting, which critics often read as expressions of rage and violence. Yet, almost as often, they have seen lyricism in her work.”

And from CyTwombly.info… “Some writers have concentrated on the materiality of the artist’s mark as aggressive, often illegible graffiti; others have followed the classical allusions to ferret out the references. Two elements might serve as metaphors for the predominant interpretations… However, Twombly’s painterly palimpsests trace the progressions through which form and content, text and image are inextricably linked.

Cy Twombly arrived in Manhattan in 1950 while the New York School painting of Pollock and de Kooning was in full swing. Upon Robert Rauschenberg’s encouragement, Twombly joined him for the 1951–1952 sessions at Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina – a liberal refuge, a site of free experimentation and exchange in a nation growing increasingly conservative during the Cold War. Among the influential teachers present at this time were Charles Olson, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell and John Cage. Building on the freedom afforded by the previous generation, the younger artists emphasised libidinal energy integrated through experience.

They focused attention on calligraphic gesture and word/image relationships resulting in work that was more syncretic, less spontaneously automatist.In the statement, Twombly describes his process: “Each line is now the actual experience with its own innate history. It does not illustrate – it is the sensation of its own realisation.”

With their works achieving millions at auction, can I put mine on ETSY or Saatchi Art, my two sales sites, for a hundred or so dollars? Or, as Malcolm Gladwell in “Outliers” wrote, “…researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.” do I need to do those 10,000 hours of pure, creative and expressive work before I can get away with my scribbles? There are many creative types who think you do, and the Ten Thousand Hours website at http://www.10khrs.co show this with a recorded interview series about craft, creativity and putting in our time.

Image © 2014 Ed Buziak

AngerManagement.1.Buziak.2

This acrylic painting was made on a 80 x 60 cms (31.5 x 23.5 inches) canvas at the weekend after having an unusually bad dream during the night. I rarely dream, and when I do from what I can remember they are in monochrome, but this time I awoke with the colours of flesh pink and red blood swimming in my head! My dream was not of gore, but more of witnessing my own death… not falling, but being sucked from a height onto a studio floor covered with tubes of acrylics. Then, I read somewhere that over the weekend ‘Pluto was no longer Retrograde’ and whilst unsure of the implication of that celestial happening, it could have triggered a malfunction in my subconscious brainwaves.

So, being curious, on The Psychics Universe site I read…

“Pluto in Retrograde – Most planets in retrograde are somewhat reversed—that is, their influences can be fairly opposite of what they are normally. In Pluto’s case, when in retrograde, its influences are not reversed or opposite; rather, it seems to go into overdrive.

It can be very intense and even more fearsome. As Pluto direct forces us to face challenges outside of ourselves, Pluto retrograde forces you to look inside of yourself and face challenges. This can sometimes be unnerving, because the transformations we undergo under the influence of Pluto retrograde tend to require a complete breakdown of the old ways and ideas before we can move forward again.

Pluto brings us face to face with our shadow self. We often consider the shadow self the “dark side”. It’s our negative emotions and desires that we oppress, often don’t even like to admit to, and deal with those parts of ourselves that we do not like. When Pluto goes retrograde, it’s a good time to take on any endeavors seeking regeneration.

Pluto retrograde is a great time for delving into any personal transformations you’ve been hoping to accomplish. However, you may have to go through what seems like a trip to Hell and back for it…

And on another site…

“The planet Pluto – the seventh planet from the Earth and is associated with the afterlife realm referred to as the realm of consciousness. This afterlife realm is the realm for the final development of full consciousness. The Pluto realm of the afterlife brings regeneration and a growth in consciousness, but also can bring self-centeredness. Pluto represents spiritual growth and development of the soul and its influence is just now developing in the destiny of humanity.”

However, once awake and fortified with coffee over a four minute burst of Steve ’n’ Seagulls playing “Thunderstruck” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4Ao-iNPPUc – which I do every morning, I climbed the stairs to my studio and started working on three canvasses during the same session… the first one finished being the above “Anger Management #1” which is now on sale at Saatchi Art. Also unusually for my methods of working, I am studying and painting this series of canvasses from all four sides, only deciding on the correct orientation once the composition is finished.

http://www.saatchiart.com/art/Painting-Anger-Management-1/395193/2173214/view

Image © 2014 Ed Buziak

Honesty.Sketch1.Buziak

Today’s artwork offering is again from the distant past – an 18 x 14 inch drawing dated 1965 from my Manchester art college days. This is an abstract interpretation of a few dried seed pods of the Honesty flower “Lunaria annua”. The seed heads when seen on the plant after flowering in the garden resemble translucent ovals and are often called “Moon Flower”. I arranged this simple still-life in a jar… but instead of looking at and drawing it from a more traditional side-on angle, I chose a viewpoint directly above, thus looking down vertically onto the subject.

Note from Wikipedia… “The Latin name lunaria means “moon-shaped” and refers to the shape and appearance of the seedpods. The common name “honesty” arose in the 16th century, and may also relate to the translucence of the seedpods. In South East Asia, it is called the “money plant” and in the United States it is commonly known as “silver dollars”, “Chinese money”, or “Chinese coins” because its seedpods have the appearance of silvery coins. For the same reason, in French it is known as monnaie du pape (“the Pope’s money”). In Denmark it is known as judaspenge and in Dutch-speaking countries as judaspenning (coins of Judas), an allusion to the story of Judas Iscariot and the thirty pieces of silver he was paid for betraying Christ.”

I also chose to interpret the still-life as a ‘negative’ image (perhaps my latent interest in black-and-white photography was making itself known) and after drawing the outlines of the overlapping seed heads in green, I filled-in – with much rubbing and blending of the colours with my finger-tips – the spaces surrounding the outlines of the seeds with a mélange of medium and dark brown soft pastel crayons from the Dutch Talens “Rembrandt” range which I bought from an art shop opposite the college, and many of which I still have and use today… and, although initially expensive, what a good investment they proved to be!

Image © 2014 Ed Buziak

NoMoneyNoDrawing

I reposted this image on one of my Tumblr pages today because it is an important point to be noted between all creative types and their friends/clients. Following the text by Inma Lorente I have posted her bio on Tumblr at http://inmalorente.tumblr.com – Hope you enjoy, and duly note!

inmalorente: wrote…

Hello! I’ve created this poster as an announcement that I will not be offering my work to clients that approach me with empty pockets in the future. I did it in the past, mostly after finishing my studies on Illustration, but now I understand that this does not help our profession. I’ve come to the realisation that the best way to practice and promote ourselves is through developing personal projects, creating our own stories and then, why not, edit them ourselves. If customers don’t arrive right away, that’s fine! The key is to draw, draw, draw and create from within ourselves, so that we can give our best out there.

From now on, I’m expecting to receive only paid offers. If none arrives, I should focus on my personal projects, or even drawing under a tree.

I will also limit the time I spend on the internet, as I’ve discovered it absorbs way too much of my time. There is something dark and magnetic going on with social media, something that draws me from my creative process, and I don’t like it at all. From now on, my time here will have a concrete purpose.

I’m sharing this letter just in case someone feels similarly, or gets any inspiration from it. Big hug to everyone!! :)

Inma Lorente (Valencia 1985)

She studied graphic design after two years of working in a telecommunications company in the marketing department decides to travel to Barcelona to study illustration. It is at this point that begins to discover her true motivation. Decides to refocus her career and develop a personal style that feels great work.

Currently divides her time between her personal work and the implementation of projects such as advertising agencies or Doubleyou and Bassat.

Her work came to Mexico last year with a project to Hotmail, which has received two awards for advertising. Festival círculo de Oro, the most important advertising festival in Mexico and a Sol de Plata in Integrated Campaigns category in the ad in Spanish El Sol.

She also works for a cultural magazine illustrating newspaper articles along with other illustrators.

http://thechurchofhorrors.com/

She like the archaic art and abstract expressionism. She does not like the academic or the rules. What a good time breaking perspectives and proportions.

Enjoy free drawing. Her basic tool is intuition.

DriftingAtSea.Buziak.2

This is an acrylic painting on a large 76 x 56 cms (30 x 22 inches) sheet of Arches Platine paper made during the same couple of days I was working on the two “Pop Camouflage” works illustrated and described here last week. It uses an unusual combination of colours for me – Plum, Pea Green and pale Sky Blue, for want of better descriptive names, although I’m sure the tubes – despite a little mixing and watering down with Titanium White and Paynes Grey, said nothing of the sort. However, the colour combination has stuck in my mind for another not so complimentary reason.

The first visitor to see this piece said, in very direct terms, that I should more or less consider giving up trying to sell paintings and find an outlet for my creativity as a printed textile designer… her punch line being, “I don’t like what you’ve been painting recently as artworks, but I would certainly buy some of them if they were dresses or curtains!” When I think of it though, I was trained as an interior designer at art college, and since the mid-1960s have always admired, and sometimes bought, the printed cotton products under the label of Marimekko, the Finnish designer and producer, so perhaps subliminally I have been channelled in that direction. On their website I found one particularly relevant statement, “Marimekko design is communicative but not ingratiating. It exhibits contradictions and courage to see beauty in everyday life, stemming from a strong passion for creating something new and a belief in intuition.”

This artwork is for sale at Saatchi Art…

http://www.saatchiart.com/art/Painting-Drifting-at-Sea/395193/2169175/view

Image © 2014 Ed Buziak

WiltshireDowns.1.Buziak

This is my first oil painting for possibly 50 years… or at least 40. I spent yesterday recovering more than 30 tubes of oil paint which have survived from art college days in the early ’60s, plus a few more tubes I’ve found during my travels which needed serious work to free the stubborn caps to salvage the still soft and gooey contents without having to cut away the tube bottoms!

This imaginative landscape is of the English Southern Downs… possibly Wiltshire where I lived for around 20 years enjoying the rolling scenery and farmland from my abode on the northern edge of the vast expanse of Salisbury Plain. Of course this painting is created from my memory of how I still see the Downlands… very open, changing colour often, and always with the symbolic clumps of trees on the skyline which often delineated the route of the Great Ridgeway, that ancient thoroughfare of around 4,500 years of age and undoubtedly a principal route of travel and communication in the Neolithic, or New Stone Age, period.

I will not be putting this item for sale on Saatchi Art or ETSY because it has been painted on a canvas dating from the 1950s and overpainted twice by me and possibly before that by the previous artist, my late wife’s uncle. There are two very small shallow dents in the canvas surface, hardly visible in normal light, but Saatchi Art would have reason to refund a purchaser under certain circumstances. However, if any viewer is interested in this work which measures 76 x 51.5 cms (30 x 20 inches) then I would be happy to discuss a price… otherwise it will hang nicely on one of my own walls.

PiccadillySta.Drawing.1.Buziak

I found another drawing dated 1963, from the same period at art college, and where I can still remember sitting… but this time at the end of a cold draughty platform of Piccadilly Station in Manchester. Our pre-diploma group must have been sat there at various spots for a couple of hours… but as the station was a terminus, the end carriage of the train next to this platform thankfully wasn’t going anywhere.

My technique for this drawing was the same as yesterday’s “Art college studio” subject… pen and black ink but on 15 x 22 inch paper (the photo is cropped from the original) which must have been quite unwieldy in the wind, unless I had it well-clipped to a small drawing board at the time. Again there is no trace of pencil sketching-in to establish the basic shapes, perspective and proportions – which do feel right – so I mush have been developing a good eye at the time.

I still have several original drawings and paintings from my art college years half a century ago, and whilst a few are being placed on Saatchi for sale, I will always keep some which, apart from being probably unsalable, have more personal memories… this being one of them.

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