The Sketchbook Project - 8 (Symmetry)

Preparing to teach Basic Design this fall, I’ve been thinking about symmetry and equilibrium a bit lately, particularly from a system approach. Some systems are stabilized at equilibrium and thrive there- say for instance an atom or molecule. Some systems thrive in a state of flux, of asymmetry, where certain elements are more necessary for the system to continue to exist. And some systems are asymmetrically self maintaining. It’s this third type of system that I am interested in. The classic example is a candle flame- combustion occurs above a threshold temperature, combustion induces convection that brings in fresh oxygen and gets rid of waste. Combustion also melts wax so that it can climb the wick and vaporize more wax to make it available for combustion. But it can only self maintain within specific environmental conditions. How does this relate to creativity, the making of and the viewing of art?

Eric in a Word: quaquaversal

Book of the Day: Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity - Hugh MacLeod

Song of the Day: Sweet Thang- Shuggie Otis

Religious Figure of the Day: Perun

Medium: Masking tape, black tea, graphite on 8.25" x 5" sketchbook page

The Sketchbook Project - 7 (Paths not taken)

I’ve been meditating on things planned but never culminated. In particular, I have been looking at the forks in my life where I have chosen one tine over another and wondering how life would be different if I had taken the planned route rather than the new opportunity. I don’t have any regrets, but I am curious about whom that other person could have been. A “for instance” is necessary - I’ll choose a good one. Near the middle of my first semester in art college I made a decision to finish that year and then take a year off to travel to Africa as a freelance photographer working in conflict zones and refuge camps around Liberia and Sierra Leone. But, a certain relationship (my wife) started to emerge and by February I had scrapped the plan. I often wonder who would have emerged from Africa, or if he’d emerge.

Eric in a Word: baragouin
Book of the Day: Labyrinths with Path of Thunder - Christopher Okigbo
Song of the Day: Buzzards of Green Hill - Les Claypool's Flying Frog Brigade
Religious Figure of the Day: Kinich Ahau
Medium: Hibiscus infusion, black tea, blue ink, black ink on 8.25" x 5" sketchbook page


Sketchbook Project - 6

The black box was rocking along the dusty rutted road, the sun bearing harsh upon the undulating surface of the land - rises covered in razor grass and topped by clumps of twisted bush, with their branches huddled against the sky as if cringing from a lash. The landscape was divided in two by the crushed shell streak of a road stretching in long loops, a river of snow crawling out of the scrub on its way to the sea. Humidity pressed down on the horses and the driver flattening time into a sweltered present, past and future to hard to cut from the thick fabric of atmosphere. Even the flies were grounded under the unusual weight of the cobalt oven. I listened, but no sounds could reach beyond the crunch of the hooves and wheels, except the chitinous vibration of cicadas. In silence born unto this present I came.

Eric in a Word: idolum
Book of the Day: Memories of My Melancholy Whores- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Song of the Day: L'oiseau de bois- Anouar Brahem
Religious Figure of the Day: Asgaya Gigagei
Medium: blue ink, white out, graphite on 8.25" x 5" sketchbook page


The Sketchbook Project - 5

Struggling a bit lately with my sketchbook. I just don’t have the drive right now. It’s not a lack of ideas or subjects; in fact my mind is full of visions and concepts, my eye noticing beauty and balance in the everyday. But moving from internal to external has not been a step I’ve been able to take. The glut of ideas and observations, I think, are the cause for this block. Everything is vibrant and interesting; everything has been equalized in its vivacity. I find it hard to actualize without differentiation. In a reversal of my norm, it is easier to continue, and even finish, larger pieces than to capture something in a 30 second sketch. And the sketches I’ve managed to capture have been crap whereas every step I’ve made on more long-term work has been right even when it felt wrong. Thus is the flow of creation.

Eric in a Word: radiogenic
Book of the Day: Art Fundamentals: Theory and Practice
Song of the Day: Walk on Water - Otis Taylor
Religious Figure of the Day: Heitsi-eibib
Medium: permanent black ink, rooibos tea, green tea on 8.25" x 5" sketchbook page