The 100 #52 – Back in the Game…

Self Portrait in circular mirror with text, by Clinock. 2012. Diameter, with writing, 12″. Chalk pastel, conte and black pen.

I have been struggling for some time with my art – a creative slump that had me questioning the meaning and value of what I was doing. Now I am back in the game and will be tentatively sharing some of the new work I have been making. I have gone back to basics. I have been studying colour, life drawing and still life painting and drawing. I have ‘laid-off’ my automatist and intuitive abstract approach for awhile and am attempting to understand, accept and apply a more classical way of working. This has been hard for me and I still find myself wrestling with trying to integrate the two approaches – but I am working again – Hallelujah! I am not abandoning my intuitive approach but I also don’t want to feel that a classical approach is outside of my creative world. I have a button that states: “Fear No Art”.  Although I feel that much of my new work is just feeling out a new path I am sharing because my postings are my way of encouraging myself to make art that is viewed by you and others.  I care what others think about my images because without this sharing I don’t know why I make art. I want to communicate with you through my images. I want to tell you how I see, who I am and what I feel and believe.

Because the text that surrounds my Self Portrait may be difficult to read I am transcribing it here:

Drawing a Self Portrait by Clinock.

“In the mirror my name is lost in forests of colour. Thoughts and feelings vanish in shadows and light. Memories transform into texture and line. My fingers dance to the drums of the Fathers and the chanting of the Mothers. Night spirits whisper and call and the shaman of the sun sings the music that swells inside. Flesh dissolves into rainbows of light. Rich and pulsing darkness purrs upon impossible edges of skin, the illusion of my beginning and ending. I fly in eagles and glide cold depths in the bellies of whales. I am in the tall pine, the voices of the Mothers and the hands of the beater of drums. Proudly I move to the drum. Within this circle of incantation and musty magic I am dancer, warrior and magician and my spirit is straight and true. I look into my eyes and each orb becomes a universe. The stranger in this circumference of glass  guides my hand and I dissolve again into marks moving across paper deserts. I know this language, always becoming, between the stars and the deepest cave of my heart. It speaks of coming home again. It speaks of walking this world proudly and in beauty”.

The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of textual art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu

36 thoughts on “The 100 #52 – Back in the Game…

  1. I think all of us creative folk come to that fork in the road. It’s as frustrating as it is intimidating. Glad you’re moving away from that struggle. Perhaps it will inspire me to create again, as I have done very little this year.

    The self-portrait is quite intense and the resonance is both classical and modern. Makes me think of my art history courses and why they were so relevant. Stay on the path of creating. I’ll be watching and attempting to follow your lead.


    1. Thank you Totsymae – you are so right, the frustrations and intimidation are real and known to all who create in whatever spheres of art. These struggles don’t go away, they just appear in different guises. I read somewhere that every problem comes bearing a gift and I have found this to be true. If you are experiencing a similar creative slump may I humbly suggest that, despite everything, you just keep on working. Not work to show or post necessarily but just anything at all that gives you joy and a small challenge. Eventually you will break through and want to share. Yes, my self portrait is far more intense than I actually am in day to day life. Just as it’s ‘likeness’ to me is far from realistic so for the expression. When I created this self portrait I actually wanted to be as realistic as possible and this involved intense concentration – this is reflected in my expression. Thank you for your thoughtful and welcome comment…


  2. I’ve had to come back to this a couple of times. Wonderful portrait. I agree with Marina. Other than that I’m speechless. Wonderful work. I hope you enjoy this new direction. 🙂


    1. I appreciate your support very much Terry. I hope I eventually enjoy this new direction also – right now it’s mostly hard work (as shown in the intense concentration on my face) – no pain no gain…


  3. Bravo! Bravo! John.. I am very glad to see and read this.. I know this resurgence will be making you happy..
    In fact I would go so far as to say that your self portrait should have a smile 😉


    1. Thanks Helen – yes, I feel better now about working again. I’ve not made many self portraits but the thing I remembered while making this one is that it’s difficult to express emotion. Imagine smiling for 3 hours +. I’m aware of the intensity of this work but it honestly expresses the concentration needed. It’s not a photographic representation of how I look – nor do I go around with this seriousness on my face – it’s simply the way I was while working…


    1. Good to hear from you – I’ve been missing you and your wonderful drawings. I think you are right – the quiet spaces between making art are as necessary as are the silences that create music and the pauses that enable us to hear poetry…


  4. Great portrait. I’ve missed your interesting work and I look forward to seeing more. As visual artists we crave communication. To say in images the things we can’t say in words. I find it interesting and understandable your use of text in your work, its the need to connect. I’ve heard artists say, ‘art is about personal expression’. I don’t agree. Its about communication. Keep up the great work.


    1. Thank you for your constant support William. I believe that true art is a rich mix of personal expression and communication – either of these without the other results in work that falls short of its potential…


  5. I enjoyed this piece immensely. Reminds me of some of my brothers works describing the individual’s relationship to eternity…so freeing and full of dance and embracing the dark and the light.


      1. My brother writes by hand and eventually gets to typing it up. He doesn’t post anything on-line as his writing is too in depth for this forum. He does participate now and then on my blog…Dragonstrand.


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