This Sorry Birthday Suit.

While working on a future draft, I noticed that I sent out the first TSS newsletter one year ago yesterday. I thought I'd better mark the occasion somehow, but instead of some lengthy essay, I thought I'd send a quick note about where this things seem to have brought me.

I was talking to an old friend the other day, who knew me back when I painted ALL the time. Long before I was a working artist, even. It was wonderful to see her work from the years we hadn't been in contact; beautiful imaginative and decadent paintings and drawings of every size. She asked me what I had been working on and I admitted that I haven't been painting at all. She clicked her tongue and said that it was terrible. That I was one of the best she'd seen (not true, but nice to say) and it's a shame that I'm not making art. After thinking about it in the silence between us for a bit, I said:

"I haven't been making a lot of art, but I have been writing a lot about art."

The answer didn't seem to satisfy her disappointment. But it did make ME feel better.

I realized that I'm pretty happy with last year's output of sketches, poems and songs. Especially considering all the changes. I'm particularly pleased with the rag-tag consolidation of ideas about making things. I was lucky that, with every newsletter I sent out, I'd find another thing to think about. I trusted in the process and every time I stepped, I found a rock beneath my foot.

And above all that, I'm grateful to those of you who have taken the time this year to write a note back and start a discussion with me. There are quite a few of you on this list that should be writing their own newsletters, your ideas and connections are wonderful. Please put me down as subscriber number one when you get started.

 

But that conversation with my old friend has rung in my head for the last couple weeks. Maybe there's a part of me that's ready to work.

One of the silver linings in tearing down everything (if you can manage the disappointment and tongue-clicking from people you admire) is that, at the end of it, when everything is flat, you can see for miles.

So this week, I started advertising for a life model; someone who would come to my studio and help me get back into the swing of drawing and pushing paint around. I've got some vague notions for images, pretty different from what I've ever done before and reasonably heavy on what I've found in the last year to be important. Things like:

Finding your shape

Contrast and being a lightning rod

Working to be okay inside your skin

The importance of moving and black noise

Using everything you've got to make it look effortless

Ignoring the 3 fears, then making art about all of the others

The dull aching misery inherent in compromise

All that and a few other notions I'm still nailing down. And probably some high heels.

If any of you know of (or are) a life model in the LA area that would be interested in working, please let me know: myself@nealvonflue.com

 

Here's a little study I did a while back based on a photo from the brilliant Melanie Titus.

It's been in the queue attached to an upcoming TSS draft about my screwy relationship to intimacy, but I'm tired of holding on to it (as I am most things)

It took about 2 hours overall and I stopped to screen-cap it every so often. Here's an animated GIF of the process.

I think I liked it best right before it was finished. The edge handling was more loose and the expression more lively. I think it fell into the uncanny art-valley right at the end (There's another idea: an essay on the boringness of realism. Is there an uncanny valley for art?)

 

I've got to stop now. There was a decent-sized spider on the wall in front of me as I was writing this and when I glanced back he was gone. He clearly jumped somewhere.

I'm off to get the hairspray and a lighter.

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Thank you all for the support this year. I mean it. 

As always, there's an archive for this newsletter at: https://www.nealvonflue.com/newsletter/newsletter-archive/  There are some strangers on this list now, which is amazing to me. If you're new I'd love to hear from you.

And if you're in LA: my little burg is having an Art Walk during Summer. The first one is next Thursday June 18th. I wont be displaying anything (see the above explanation) but I will be playing music with Ol' Shiny at South Bay Customs. I hope to see you.