CONCERNING THE DRAWINGS
In August of 2011 I attended an art colony in a remote part of Vermont and as I began my intended four week project, a series of medium large charcoal drawings, I promptly hit what seemed like a creative “brick wall.” Each drawing would achieve an initial point and suddenly it would become impossible for me to know how I was to proceed to completion. I then did what long experience had taught me to do to circumvent this problem---I began to start still more drawings, and still more drawings, in bunches of five, five more---and five more---and five more, until I quickly had about thirty medium large sized charcoal drawings crowding the walls of my small studio space, all unfinished and what was worse, I was left with the unpleasant feeling that I was at that moment incapable of knowing just how to finish them. What an unwelcome and curious sort of sudden creative freeze---and at what an inopportune time!
In order to try and break this block I decided to select a small, diverse number of fellow attendees, one by one, to come into my studio and look at the unfinished drawings and give me feedback. A very talented, very bright, very young female art student. An African-American writer, whose work I had just heard read at one of the evening seminars and which I liked. A feminist psychological counselor who I thought to be worldly-wise and perceptive. A fellow non-objective painter whose paintings I admired who I had known earlier in New York City and who was co-incidentally attending the art colony at the same time as I was.
Charcoal on 100% Rag, 22” x 30”
Charcoal on 100% Rag, 2 2” x 30”
Charcoal on 100% Rag, 21” x 31”
Charcoal on 100% Rag, 22” x 30”
All of these people, as requested, came, looked, and generously offered their criticism and their advice.The young art student drew a complete blank from the drawings and speculated rather quizzically on how someone could and/or would make art that had absolutely no subject matter. The non-objective painter quickly began a detailed and what seemed like might become a rather elaborate lecture on exactly how she would proceed to finish them---a lecture, I might add, that I quickly terminated---as in, does not apply.
Neither the writer nor the feminist/psychologist had any advice as to how I should continue but each were, as were all four participants, independently in complete agreement that the drawings were unfinished and ineffective---and I agreed with them. What was I to do? I had not come equipped to work in any other media and nothing at hand seemed to be working.
Two weeks of frustration mixed with disgust and with barely controlled feelings of failure as I quickly packed up everything, the unfinished drawings included, and returned to New York City and got on with my life and my work---my painting. After all, disappointing as it was, this was not the first time that I had done bad or incomplete work.
The unfinished drawings sat in a portfolio for almost two years with only an occasional rumination upon them on my part and the also understandable, occasional regretful thoughts concerning my incomplete experience at the art colony.
Then suddenly and unexpectedly during the summer of 2013, without any rational thought or planning I took the drawings out and began to work on them again and one after the other they almost effortlessly began to be realized. Oh wondrous process---and yet another example (among many) of the mystery of the human creative endeavor.
I now happily present a selection of these drawings to you.
- Al Peters