I'm sad to say that I have always been one of those people that looks at some abstract painting, like maybe a Mark Rothko or the graffiti of Keith Haring and say, that's wonderful, but really, I could do that, even though deep inside I knew that there was something about those works that was elusive, trapped on a canvas--pinned down really, like a butterfly on a collector's board.
I would look at Piet Mondrian's "Broadway Boogie Woogie" and think, I love this painting, how he conveyed the excitement of Broadway, the movement and flashing lights with just lines and squares. I've always thought, hey, I want to do that. I was sure that I could think of some way to distill the essence of a city into a few lines. I was sure I could--all I had to do was to get a paint set and my walls would be dripping with my masterpieces. I really thought I did--just put a brush in my hand.
And because I had this huge, huge feeling, I had attempted to blog about it because I wanted to write about something and it was either this or another post about farting, which would've been appropriate since just before I sat down, I had farted. I'm in fact, still in the midst of its lingering stench.
I had written the following:
Art is daunting. It wills a person to create it, no matter how unsophisticated the hand. And then it is out there, for everyone to judge.
It scares me because sometimes, I feel that there is picture in me that needs to be conceived. I don't know the implement; a brush, a pen or knife. Sometimes, I am overwhelmed by the lines of a bus. Sometimes, I am suffocated by the color of rain, or the look in a man's eye.
I wish, often, forever, I could give birth to an image--a pink squalling babe would spring forth from me--with a moon for an eyebrow, a caterpillar for a finger, a penny for a navel.
At first it sounded good to me. Then it just felt atrocious, so much so that the next word I wrote was "fuck." And then,
I'm such a fucking tool. I decided not to post it and left it in draft mode.
However, I did go online and signed up for a class at the Evanston Art Center thinking that despite my bravado, I really needed some basic instruction. I wanted to do it right. If one had something important that they wanted to do, ideally one should consult an expert, say an astrologer, you know, to see if the stars are in alignment. I gazed at the night sky looking for signs of a twinkling conga line.
A few days before the class, I checked my blog and revisited what I had written. It had not gotten better and was more and more like the literary version of the guy you brought home at the desperate hour of closing time. Since it had taken me like, over an hour to write this shit, I attempted to salvage what I wrote, sort of like pretending that the whole night never happened, I'd never met that closing time guy even though he won't stop texting me and calling me up crying in the middle of the night.
I deleted the fucks and wrote sort of an apologia for this treacle, an "i'm not taking myself that seriously" bullshit that I am wont to write:
I hired a midwife. I signed up for an art class. For the next 8 weeks I'll find out whether I suck, or I just suck dick.
I am very nervous about it. Eight weeks is a long time, especially if the rest of the class was wildly talented. What if we had to draw from nude male models? I am afraid my drawings would all have beautifully detailed dicks hanging on stick figures.
I am hoping to snag a corner where I can work privately and not draw attention to myself. Do you think wearing a velvet smoking jacket is ok? Or is that not artsy enough? Or maybe an all-black ensemble and a beret? This is just totally freaking me out. I may have to go buy a totally new outfit for the class. I want to make sure, you know, that I fit in.
I'm scared shitless.
I wasn't happy with that either. But the last line was true: I was scared shitless. I clung to that. It's kind of like that moment when you realize, yes, I am gay and I am going to have to take it up the ass. Ouuuuuuuchhhh. I used to think: why couldn't I have been born a lesbian? Until I saw the size of the dildos they used. There was one that was the size and shape of a fist. Lesbians mean business, man. You know that vibrator they call The Rabbit? The lesbian version is a real fucking rabbit, stuffed, with beady glass eyes.
That's how scared I was. What if my masterpieces turned out to be the barbecue sauce kind, you know, from KC? What if my attempts are not even worthy of the bathroom wall at the Sistine Chapel. Can I live with myself? Worse, can I live with myself after I told everyone and you that I am taking the class?
Fuck it then. I have written this post long enough to abandon it forever. You know how it is. You've posted something just for the sake of posting something.
Please don't ask me to post any pictures of my work.
P.S. There is barely any stench left from the fart at the start of this post. But if I concentrate hard enough on the scent, it maybe enough for me to start another blog post...
The amazing art of Chuck Close.
Books about the artists: