Drawing

Three things about the previous post...

Two days ago I posted a doodle I found on the back of a beer coaster in a bar. It wasn't mine. Somebody unknown to me made it. I just  found it, thought it looked nice and posted it here.

I also did it to test out the mobile blogging app I had on my phone. 

Looking back on that post, I came to realize three things...

1) The blogging app works fine. It's a nice way to make a post "on the go", which in some cases could be very useful. Posting directly from an event, or a picture of something you see on the streets, things like that. However, the possibilities you have adjusting and tweaking your post on a computer are much greater than on the mobile app. I think that's a pity, but I'll live with it...

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2) When I posted the doodle two days ago, it was only after publishing it that I realized that it wasn't really a doodle after all... It's a game! It's Tic-Tac-Toe. (Well, actually it's a variation of Tic-Tac-Toe as it is often played here in Belgium called "OXO" where the object is not to get three X's or O's in a row but - you guessed it - an O, an X and an O combination.)

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That means it wasn't made as a drawing. It just kinda "grew" as the game took place. You could say it's the residue of the act of playing. In another post I made earlier this week, I suggested that doodling was akin to dancing. It doesn't really come from the wish to draw something, to depict something, but rather from the urge to make hand-movements. To criss and cross and swirl about the paper. In that case, the drawing is also the residue. Something left after the dance.

(I'm not sure where this is going, but the idea that dancing and drawing have something to do with each other, fascinates me. To be continued, no doubt...)

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3) Isn't it strange that I didn't notice the fact it was a game of Tic-Tac-Toe immediately? The reason I picked this "doodle", this beer coaster, was that I just thought it looked nice: the pattern of the O's and X's, the smudgy pencil marks, the way the cardboard surface was damaged,... 

Apparently, these are the things I notice first. I started thinking about how I look at drawings and paintings in general and I have to admit I very often do not "read" what the image is depicting. Even in comic books, where this reading can be taken quite literally and is sometimes crucial to understand what is going on in the story, I often neglect to do so. It gets worse when an image is very busy, has a lot of details, lots of things going on. Then I can't be bothered at all to start looking at all of that... I don't seem to really care what a picture is a picture of...

What I do care about is the colors and the composition, the textures, the rhythms,... What gets me exited is how a green turns into a blue and suddenly erupts into an orange. What makes me look again is how a composition seems to be "off" but actually isn't. Or how there is almost nothing going on in a painting, but you can't stop looking at it. I often catch myself doing this almost imperceivable little dance where the muscles in my neck and shoulders contract and release as my eyes follow the movement suggested by scribbles and marks on a canvas. Or I zone out in front of a large field of color. A very dark, almost black blackishness that never really becomes black but you can't really say what it is in stead. 

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So in short: I like abstract art. Or at the very least, the "abstract qualities" of an image, as opposed to the "figurative qualities", that what is depicted. Which leaves me with one big question: why don't I just make abstract work myself?

Urh...

I don't really know.

I feel very uncomfortable whenever I do try making completely abstract work. As if I don't really know what it is I'm doing. As if I don't know what the "rules" are. As if I am just remembering other abstract works of art I've seen somewhere and copying them, or rather: vaguely doing something like them. 

As if I'm an impostor. As if I'm cheating. 

(Now if you are an artist who is doing abstract art, please don't get upset! I'm not saying all abstract art is cheating. I'm just saying That I don't really know how to deal with it, somehow, yet,.... Mmmmm. Ok.)

I always promise myself to try and explore doing abstract work more and I did do some in the past. I'll try and dig up some of it and show it to you in a future blogpost.

For now, I'm gonna leave it at that.  Which might be kinda halfway between things and not really a very satisfying ending, but I guess that's where we are right now. So there....

A test...

Today’s post is nothing much. Just a test, really. I’m trying out the Squarespace mobile blogging app.

I’m in a bar, killing some time, and I found some beer coasters with someone’s doodles on the back. I’m starting to have a thing for doodles, lately. Wonder what that will bring me. Should I start collecting them? Make things with them or just document what I find? I don’t know yet. For now, this is actually just a test of the blogging app... 

Found doodles. Not mine.

Found doodles. Not mine.

Nietzschean Funny Bunnies.

I'm sitting at a lecture taking notes. It's interesting and I have to really concentrate on keeping up with what is being said, but a little while later the lecturer is reading from a text we have copies of and there are no notes to be taken at this point.

And then I feel it: my hand, still holding the pen, wants to dance.

It moves to the margin of the page and goes up-up-up, and circles back down, and back up twice and down again just a little wider now. One half of me is listening to how Zarathustra is carrying the Spirit of Gravity up a mountain and the other is drawing a funny bunny.

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What is going on here? You have done this, haven't you? Listening to someone on the phone you are filling in the little pre-printed squares on a page of a notepad. Or drawing ever-expanding rectangles or stick figures. Or, indeed, funny bunnies. Or a spider creature eating babies.

They say these doodles - that's what those scribblings are called - have meaning. That they can reveal some hidden truths about your mood or personality. That might be true, but that's not what I'm interested in at the moment.

What I'm interested in, is that initial feeling. That urge you feel to make those scribbles. Something that wants to move, that wants to loop and hatch and criss-cross. It's not about meaning at that point, it's about rhythm. It's about repeating the same little movement over and over again and then changing it to something else and repeating that. And go back and forth between the two.

And maybe then you suddenly see the beginning of the funny bunny. It emerges from the circles and spiky-forms you made. Maybe someone else would have seen a rocket ship in those shapes - that's where the "meaning" might come in.

But first, there is the dance...