Do Ideas Come First or Second?

Do Ideas Come First or Second?

Sometimes there are so many ideas, they’re like a bowl of popcorn while watching tv at night, who cares if a few fall between the cushions, plenty to go around!

Other times, ideas are like your underwear drawer when you’ve forgotten to do the laundry. Uh oh!

When there are lots of ideas to go around, and you are acting on some of these ideas, then you can take ideas for granted. A dime a dozen. What a wonderful state of affairs. But just like a bowl of popcorn is easily consumed, ideas can suddenly be in short supply. You can find yourself digging through the couch cushions and looking hard at that stale kernel, wondering if something can be made from it.

I feel like I am in that state and I am wondering what happened? Where did all the ideas go?

I know exactly what happened! I stopped drawing.

I haven’t made an abstract since before Thanksgiving. Sure, I diddled around a bit in my little book and that kept things from a taking a radical turn, but I haven’t committed to a drawing in more than a week and now I have no ideas.

So, here’s my thesis, ideas are the result of actions. We tend to think it’s the opposite, that ideas come first, and actions follow, like, I have an idea to make cake. Now I am eating cake. How cool!

But that’s not really an idea, it’s an impulse. Doesn’t matter, ideas and impulses are almost the same and good ideas need a lot of impulse embedded in them. That’s why we have all sorts of grand ideas that never manifest. It doesn’t matter how cool your space colony concept is, you’ll never in a million years have enough impulse. Elon Musk might have enough impulse but who cares, back to cake.

While you’re mixing the batter, you may have an idea about adding crushed pistachios (that sounds good!) or adding green food coloring to the pistachio frosting, or maybe shaping the whole thing like a frog. Ideas need a portal to come through, that portal is the thing already happening. If you want ideas, start doing the thing.

The main reason I draw so often is because I want to keep my channel open. I want to have lots of ideas. I am greedy and I like to find lost ideas tucked into the couch. That happened with my last post. I had written the title and first two sentences only, saved it and moved on. I had no memory of doing that, a stray thought that came into my head, probably while doing the dishes, but I quickly captured it because that’s another thing about ideas, they have a very short life span unless you plant them. They waft in on the wind and they will waft out just as quickly unless you write them down, or draw them out, or in some way place them in the world of action.

I have to go draw now.

The Happiest Little Star

The Happiest Little Star

This contented cutie, Sidewalk Face 1000, is my second print offering. Click here for purchase information.

I walk by them almost every day, nod and say hello. It’s nice to see friends. I’ve photographed them several times. However, after a rare morning rain, the evaporating water made their halo more pronounced and it was time to do another portrait! I knew right away this one was special, such joie de vivre*! 

They are a personal favorite, radiating kind-heartedness and embodying what I value most in my art: 

Pavement

The classic medium of my genre!

Seeing Potential

I like noticing things and examining closely so I turned that into an art practice. That’s how I entertain myself on endless dog walks, traversing the same streets year after year, I look for what is unusual or has changed. It’s my modern urban way of scratching the ancient hunter-gatherer itch. I got excited by the rusted metal pipe remains of his nose. It’s the small things that make my day.

Minimal Interference

My personal goal is to do the least to get the most. I try to make them feel as if they emerged on their own from what was naturally there. Sometimes my contribution is artificial and obvious, it’s more important to make a good expression than be austere but it’s part of my ethos to not overwork the image. This one is very minimal and that makes me happy.

Availablism

Wanting a little more detail than the curved sticks were providing, I added additional eye features with spit. That’s availablism**. Use what you have.

Emotional Expression

As you all know I post as many miserable faces as happy ones. I am always pushing to find greater emotional nuance in cement, sticks, stains and detritus. I am looking for something I recognize, a feeling I have felt. Sometimes a face is compositionally good but has no emotional authenticity. I don’t like that. I have to feel it.


*French for joy of living

**Term coined by the ever awesome Kembra Pfahler of The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black.