Toyin Ojih Odutola’s Surface Weaving

Toyin Odutola, Unclaimed Estates (detail), 2017 The first thing I noticed about Odutola’s work is the fabulous attention to texture and changes in surfaces. Most obviously, it’s the skin of her subjects. Faces and bodies writhe with sheen and curves tightly bound together. It’s mesmerizing stuff and is worth staring at for a good while to take in the complexity of her drawing.

Enough of This Nonsense

Above is my contribution to Inktober for yesterday. It brought back the genuine pleasure of drawing from reference, near to drawing from life, which itself is near and dear to my heart, close to the core of my artistic center. Because even though I’m not so much an observational painter in general, it’s where I learned how it feels to find the zen place that envelops you in a stasis field of no time and facilitates the process.

This is very cool. Because once you know how to drop into that sensation, you can get back to it easier the more you practice it.

The downside is that you know when you aren’t there. That’s a bit of what’s happened with the daily blog: I kept putting it off until it was past bedtime and therefore easy to put aside.

So. Here’s a renewal marker. It’s easier to keep going than to restart.

Drawing Is Being Human, and Seeing Reality

This article on Quartzy reviews D. B. Dowd’s new book, Stick Figures: Drawing as a Human Practice. The article makes much of the idea that drawing is a kind of learning, which is somewhat true, but limited, I’d argue. Instead, I think there’s great value in championing the idea of drawing as a tool for many aspects of life, and not just the province of artists and fumbled attempts to imitate the pros.

Near the beginning, it says drawing should t be limited to the artists. But I’d say that misses the point, at least for me. Drawing is for all of us because to make art is human. We are all artists by nature. Most of us just lack refinement and practice in becoming connected to our creative cores and in utilizing various techniques of creation.

It’s well worth reading, and I hope it’s another bit of inspiration to start or keep working on your thing.

The Open Spaced Wild of Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze

Amanze works with surrealism and figure—mashups? There’s a mystical element to many works, finely detailed figures and things floating in the white space of their surfaces.

It’s disturbing and charming at the same time. The sense of myth or spirit world imbues the drawings that also show us the plain, real, everyday. The open spaces have a quiet, meditative structure, where anything could happen, but for now the moment of stillness stretches.

Give Art, Give Blood, Both Are Life

Notwithstanding the problems some of us have giving blood (sexually active gay men are still prohibited), if you can, it will likely save someone’s life.

Art is the same. It can save, after it can also excite, enrich, and enliven the people you give it to.

The piece above is by one of my drawing professors, Siobhan McClure. The drawing was a gift to me, in thanks for a supplies donation I made to the School of Art when I left L.A. it was unexpected, and it delighted and humbled me.

Art is so very basic to our humanity. Giving it to each other is an act of acknowledgement and celebration of that essence. If you make art, don’t overlook its power as a gift to others.

Profundity in Sound and Vision by Christine Sun Kim

I’ve been poring over the work of Christine Sun Kim, who works with sound as a symbol and subject, but often without using it as a medium. Her drawings especially are a lovely and evocative examination of assumptions we have about things like music and notation.

I’d hazard a guess that her approach is so visual because Kim is deaf.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mt9oVNBuG80&t=5s

Oh, also I live in Portland, Oregon, now.