Preliminary study for Ensueño. 2020. Pen, ink, and gouache in sketchbook.
Great things take time and hard work to make; there’s no two ways about it, you either put in the time or you don’t. I have believed that for as long as I can remember and it’s something that’s never going to change. This belief colors and informs everything I do as an artist and it is reflected most directly in my work. My work is the result of talent, education, experience, knowledge and years of hard work. If what I do is great it’s great because I’ve put in the time. There are no free rides in what I do, I’ve earned every bit of it inch by inch.
Because of this, I have an attitude when it comes to being an artist. I make no apologies about it – it is what is. If I show no quarter in my opinion when it comes to making art you can blame it on education, knowledge and experience. I loath mediocrity and I have no qualms about dropping the hammer when I need to.
I recently decided to slow down the rate at which I post on social media and focus on my work. The last thing that I need to be worrying about is having to feed the hungry dog that is social media. In years past I felt compelled to make constant updates but that desire has run its course. What I make cannot be held captive by an insatiable need for updates. That mentality does not mix well with my fine art sensibilities so I have decided that it’s something that will not continue. New work will appear when I feel it’s ready to be seen and not because I haven’t posted something new in the last 10 minutes
The work that I’m currently doing is quite different to what I have done in the past. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say what I’m doing now is a complete about face to the way most people work today. For one thing, the work that I’m doing now completely eschews pop culture. In years past that’s where my attention and focus was at at but I’ve lost my interest in that sort of thing because it now rings hollow to me and, like my past need for constant posting to social media, it too has run its course.
Recently, my love for reading has been reignited and I am head over heals in love with the daily ritual of reading as I have my morning cup of coffee. My renewed love affair with reading has already had an immediate affect on me. I recently finished reading Fiona MacCarthy’s brilliant biography of Sir Edward Burne-Jones, the genius Pre-Raphaelite painter and artist-dreamer. The coterie of artists that make up The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood have long been an inspiration to me; Burne-Jones in particular has always been an example of what I should aspire to and a guiding light as well. Over the month that I spent reading Fiona MacCarthy’s book I began to question what I was doing in my work. It didn’t take me long for me to realize that I had strayed far from my path and that I needed to go back to the things that had inspired me in my formative years.
It’s for this very reason that I have chosen to slow down the rate at which I post on social media and to focus on my work. Great work takes time to create and I”m not interested in keeping up with the Joneses. That’s not what being an artist is about for me. I’ve invested decades of my life into what I do with the singular intent of being the best at it. It’s what’s called playing the long game. Most people have no idea what that means because for most people the idea of someone spending decades to perfect something is psychotic. There’s no instant gratification or 401Ks in it, only a minute number of people would ever do this. There’s nothing I can do about this because it’s my lot in life – I was destined to do what I do. Art is my life, it’s what I do every single day. When someone asks me if I’ve been “Working on my art,” they fail to understand what I do. I’ve decided to slow down my posting on social media because making great work is important to me and that’s where I wish to concentrate my efforts. Just because I’ve decided to slow down my posting rate on social media doesn’t mean that I’m not hard at work each and every day; It means that I want to make amazing work so don’t ever doubt that I’m active because I am indeed alive and kicking.
The image that adorns this blog post is a detail from a preliminary pen and ink study from my picture Ensueño; it is one of the many in progress drawings that I’m currently working on.This oversized drawing is inspired by Burne-Jones, Lord Leighton, and John William Godward’s very best work. I hope I’m able to reflect that in the finished piece. In my scan I purposely let the white gouache that I used to make corrections with show through in order to give readers an insight into my working methods.