eddie in profile, my brain draws conclusions

More on the brain. And my random notes…

  • you use all of your brain, at different times (not just 10%)
  • nerve cells are the basic building block of the brain
  • nerve cells (neurons) generate electrical signals (action potentials) which allow them to transmit information over long distances
  • glial cells (glia) are essential to nervous system function, though mostly their job consists of supporting neurons
  • we don’t really know how many brain cells we have
  • we can never really determine what is going on in someone’s head (only he or she can)
  • left brain controls right side of the body, right brain controls the left, but logic and creativity stem from both hemispheres
  • 1/4 of our brain is connected to our visual perception (can we really know this? i don’t believe so)
  • the visual system is understood better than any other sensory system

I draw Eddie.

I consider the sub-conscious (the unconscious) as I collage a brain, using a city map of El Paso, Texas, into the composition. I focus in on the general vicinity where Eddie spends  much of his youth (Sunset Heights). I choose the ground work to place into his mind/brain. The truth is Eddie could (probably would) choose differently and it might not be the city in which he grew up. It could be something that connects to a particular person, place or thing I know nothing about.

I like how the collage map compositionally sets the 1-10 highway to run from the eye-ball to the back of the brain (occipital lobe). See the red ↓ line, it follows the path of the real optic nerve. I don’t plan this. How does brain science explain serendipity?

This week I listen to Charlie Rose’s The Brain Series. While working on this drawing I listen to The Acting Brain.  

  • The acting brain devoted to movement (the motor system) needs a visual (internal representation) of the outside world (a particular act). The motor system begins with this internal representation. 
In order to act (to move) one (the brain) needs to know where to move. It needs a plan, a decision, a want, as well as a willingness to execute the plan. There is a whole hierarchy of function that must occur in order for one…to act/to direct action/to move (sounds to me like goal setting).
  • The (entire) brain is set up for movement. Really…the entire brain? Did I hear this right? Do I understand correctly?

 

Notes on the Complexity of the Brain, Mixed media on paper 8×8″

I meet Eddie in a ceramic art class in high school. He enjoys careful forming, making and perfecting objects with clay. Between the desire to create, a mechanically inclined and practical sensibility (logic meeting creativity), it’s no wonder he ends up in the engineering field. He (brain and mind) thrives on solving a problem. You understand I draw a conclusion here because only he can say for sure what is true.

every picture tells a story

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Wouldn’t you know, they get their marker act together and it comes to an end. We move to charcoal next.

But before we do…
Here are samples of (larger than life) self-portrait work. They use media of their choice. This study moves students into understanding art is a form of communication.

Every portrait tells a story. We learn a lot about each other during this critique.

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Brittany

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Susan

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Michael

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Kanyata

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Maygin

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Kanata (#2)

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Victoria

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Collin

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Kestin

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Robert

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Karen

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Natividad

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Jen

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Alma

I include a few of the outdoor assignments. Students spend 4 days on the campus, drawing landscape.

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…and there’s Susan, an advanced student who learns how to collage. She’s never done it before and this is practice. The image does tell a story but it’s not about birds, it’s about a fox.

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Basically we cover texture, structure and depth. Next week is value.

a portrait study and a landscape

You know how you feel somebody looking at you, and you turn, and somebody actually is? It’s the same at an art gallery. You’re looking at one portrait, turn around, and there is a work of art directly behind you. Because it’s all energy. Every single thing has energy. – Marina Abramovic


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Students go outside to draw landscape for this last marker assignment. We have rain on and off for the couple of weeks we are out there. The outdoor drawing teaches many things, most especially focus. Some students like the experience, others do not.

Their final homework for the semester is a self-portrait. I know they have all the skills necessary to complete one. And they have freedom to use materials of their choice.  It’s really a challenge most everyone enjoys. People share humorous things, people share personal things. They all express something – it’s what a portrait allows.

Here are some works from today’s critique:

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Kiria – Stressed Out

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Mary – Me

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Casey – Portrait 2015

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Ricardo – Nothing Stays the Same

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Gwynne – Missing Person

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Daniela – Danii

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Alfredo – Self Portrait

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Henry – A Face Only a Mother Could Love



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Andrea – Self Portrait

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Susan – Dan (silver point)

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Kiria – Leafy Embrace

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Gwynne – Aloe

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Casey – Little Tree

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Andrea – Aloe

setting the foundation and opening to grace

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For many years I studied a Yoga that began each practice with the words set the foundation and open to grace. In general, setting the foundation has to do with the body parts that touch the floor, while opening to grace becomes the mental underpinning for each posture. Think intention and receptivity – alignment between physical and mental
(the heart comes into it all but I won’t get into that now).

The last few weeks I’ve laid out the foundation for a new work on paper. It is a life-size study of my father. One could think with as many skeletal systems as I’ve drawn, this part would be easy. It’s not. It begins the commitment to carefully observe and render detail. This is the start of my 7th full-body portrait work.

Last week I outlined the form, set the clavicles, ribcage and some of the backbone. My dad has a broken clavicle and he has a large ribcage. Now I work on sacrum, pelvis, legs and feet. I spend most of the day working on the structure of the feet. I’m setting foundation. I don’t know how I’ll do this but I intend to keep the bones as the focal point of the composition.

The bones support and protect the organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells, store minerals and enable mobility. At birth we have over 270 bones and as we enter adulthood we have 206.

Bones symbolize foundation and are associated with enduring truth.

a character’s character.

Took a break today. Only drew for the amusement of it. No clear end in mind.

Scrap of paper, pencils, markers, scissors, adhesives, and collage bits from a 1915 book titled Character, How to Strengthen It. Book’s always amused me. I use it carefully, as it slowly dissapears. I settle into drawing a profile. Text determines direction in this case. I don’t have much room to work with and I like the set up of a small portrait. Small portraiture… usually means I’m going to play with human thoughts/emotions.

Been thinking about Character. You know…that thing we develop as we age. And saw Alice in Wonderland this weekend, queens make an impression. A play of both word and image, is how this drawing pans out.

I prefer the simplicity of the start. Too late to go back. Rework. Tighten up composition.

Title comes with end result, A Character’s Character. On days like this…I think it might be fun to illustrate children’s books.