Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sweet Inspiration

I used to consider myself an artist. If I had at hand a pen, pencil, crayon, piece of chalk, or anything that could leave a mark, I would draw. A dusty table was always a joy. To my parents consternation, steamed up windows (in the car, in the kitchen) were a perfect medium. At those times, I drew for myself. I was never as relaxed as when I was doodling my stream-of-consciousness creations.

The first time I visited Florence, Italy, I was 19. I was tempted to stay, parking myself on the Ponte Vecchio with other hippy-type artists. But, as you know, I like to eat. And I don't like to share a bathroom. And, even with the best diet I looked under-nourished, so starving young artist would have been extreme.

I worked as an illustrator at a few points in my early career. I could produce on-demand and per specifications. But I never enjoyed it.

My career evolved into graphic design and production, writing and editing, publications management, and a few other creative and non-creative businesses along the way. Since I haven't been creating every hour of every day (or even one day of every month) for years, I feel like I've lost my mojo. I would try to simply doodle but found myself trying too hard.

A DOODLE FROM WAY BACK.
CARRARA, ITALY.  ALONE IN MY ROOM.
ON A TRAIN TO FLORENCE, ITALY.
MY FRIEND JOSEPHINE HAS THIS HANGING IN HER HOME IN SICILY.
(YOU CAN SEE HER REFLECTED IN THE GLASS AS SHE SNAPPED THE PHOTO.)
SITTING AT HOME IN BOSTON WITH NOTHING TO DO.
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS.
PASSING SOME TIME WHILE WAITING FOR A FRIEND.
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, KILLING TIME BY THE POOL.
SAN GERALDO'S BUTT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD SUBJECT.

Then along came Javier (click here). I was honored to be asked to contribute something to his personal collection of artists' works. After lots of brainstorms, I decided to simply doodle. I completed my page this morning and I was, throughout the process, elated doing it. As has been common practice for most of Javier's contributors, I worked on my own paper and then pasted it onto my assigned page in the sketch book. I applied an excellent paper glue — invisible, smooth... and permanent.

THE LATEST DOODLE.  IT'S A START.

Then I regretted it.

And that's the story of my life. Maybe in another 10 (or 40) years I'll look at my doodle and enjoy it. For now, at least I have something to give to Javier and I'm inspired to get back to creating on a daily basis.


Now, THIS is sweet inspiration...

33 comments:

  1. It sure is a good start, Mitchell! And look at Buddha right in the middle of all those men!! lol
    I like how everything appears to be connected showing different phases/paths that we all take throughout our lifetime.
    Maybe this is a restarting time for you? Especially of you find it relaxing. It's like meditation, I guess.
    Thanks for sharing this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jim:
      It definitely feels like a restarting. I DO find it so relaxing. Thanks!

      Delete
  2. I like your contribution. There is a lot to see. I like the drawing done in Carrara too.

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    1. Andrew:
      Sketching while I traveled (well sketching constantly) was a wonderful thing. I can look at any of my old drawings and remember doing them and how I felt at the time.

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Michael. I look forward to loosening up again and simply doing it for the pleasure of doing it.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Judy:
      Well, thanks, but you're definitely way too kind!

      Delete
    2. You're just so darn gracious :) But, no, sorry, you don't have to say anything else, 'cause I know you're polite, but you are immensely talented. Wooooo eeeeee!

      Delete
  5. Mosts artists are not happy with their work. It's never right. It's never done. I'm such a fraud. On and on. You're in great company. And quite talented. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Walt the Fourth:
      At one point, when I was managing a staff of graphic artists (and one extremely difficult one), I regularly thought: "Just because you're temperamental, it doesn't mean you're an artist."

      Thank you so much for the kind words. I should just focus on the pleasure I get doing the work and forget about anything else.

      Delete
  6. Mitchell , you are very talented person. All pictures are fantastic.Doodleb is very nice activity...

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    Replies
    1. Gosia:
      Thanks. I'm never quite as relaxed as when I'm doodling. It's great therapy (although I don't know if I'd want a professional to analyze my drawings).

      Delete
  7. Impressive - not least the over-ripe bananas.

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    1. Raybeard:
      I had a set of great new, double-tipped watercolor markers. I must have spent the entire afternoon drawing bananas, eating bananas, and drawing bananas. I think I started with four, did a few sketches, ate one, and continued. It was a wonderful day.

      Delete
  8. So you're your own harshest critic? Go figure! You're also extremely gifted.

    Love this video, would you be my dj?!?

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    Replies
    1. Jacqueline:
      First, YOU have to be MY DJ! But, yes, doesn't Von Smith do an amazing job with this song? I don't know if I'm my own harshest critic (I don't know what others say or think when they look at my stuff), but I'm definitely not very kind or forgiving.

      Delete
  9. I really like that drawing of Geraldo's butt! We've had a bit of a similar career trajectory. I'm totally burned out on graphic design, which was never fulfilling for me anyway. I'm glad you're drawing again! I was trying to do a drawing a day for a while, just something fast in my sketchbook. It was fun and I need to get back on that. Your work is great!

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    Replies
    1. Knatolee:
      Graphic design is so often a poor imitation of what we really want to do with our time. I envied my colleagues who were graphic designers first and artists second. I've started a new, very large doodle in another sketch pad and I am doing a little every day. Bliss! Would love to see what you've created!

      Delete
  10. Mitchell, no matter which of the arts one participates in, it seems we are our own worst critic, and fold to the challenge of getting our work out to others. As a writer, I experience the same challenges. Good luck...keep on keepin on!

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    Replies
    1. Linda:
      Thanks so much. I also write, had one little (crappy... no really crappy) story published, and continue to tell myself I'm not good enough to submit anything. So I write and amass a pile.

      Delete
  11. That's an elaborate doodle. I hope this notebook challenge encourages you to continue creating art. You have definite talent and it would be interesting to see you create a few gallery pieces.

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    Replies
    1. Stephen:
      Thanks so much, Stephen. A gallery? Now THAT's one amazing fantasy!

      Delete
  12. The doodle on the sun hairs looks just a little rude
    Hey ho!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John:
      I don't know what the "doodle on the sun hairs" is. Is that Welsh for something else? But, yeah, my doodles often have rude elements.

      Delete
  13. Fantastic! What a treasure that book is, especially now with your piece in it. Such a great idea!

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    Replies
    1. Michelle:
      He's about two-thirds the way through a second book. Truly an inspired idea.

      Delete
  14. Where's Waldo? Seriously, you're a very talented artist. I'm quite impressed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Frank:
      Ha! I used that color drawing as the basis for "Where's the Duchess," a blog post I did in November 2012 (http://mitchellismoving.blogspot.com.es/2012/11/wheres-duchess.html).

      Delete
  15. Just as good as the Dutch Masters.

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  16. Thanks for sharing samples of your great art. I especially liked the drawing you did sitting in your car at 1 a.m. in Harvard Square. Really great stuff!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dean:
      Thanks so much. The sketch book is back out. I need to get into the habit of carrying it around with me. Sketching would be so much more relaxing while enjoying a cup of coffee than reading the online news. I also love what sketching does for my memory. No matter what I sketched and no matter how long ago, my memory of that specific time is always perfect.

      Delete

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