Archives for posts with tag: Learning

As a professional, in any line of work, the process of re-discovery should remain continuous, because there is always something new to learn. And learning means evolving.

I for one have never been satisfied with knowing “just enough” to get by, but instead strive to be all I can, and then some. It’s what keeps me steady in the face of adversity. Because I know I’ve never taken the easy way out. In fact, I fail often… because I dare to confront my uncertainties head-on. And those failures, in return, then provide the tools I need to meet the next challenge.

But it’s not just the lessons we learn that are important. I love learning because it helps me to re-discover the beauty in what I do, forcing me to see the work (once again) through fresh and curious eyes. And this moment is no different, as I immerse myself in the painted landscape.

Landscapes have occupied many a background, in my work, and have oftentimes been utilized to express characteristics about my subject. But I haven’t explored the landscape on its own enough to truly say I understand the technique. So as I endeavor to fully incorporate the landscape in my repertoire, here I am again… falling in love with the process of converting raw material into something beautiful.

Check it out: Using a single palette knife, some pretty rugged brushes, painting medium, Gamsol (which is an odorless paint thinner) and few squirts of paint…

Tools and Raw Materials

Tools and Raw Material

The magic begins when all of this mess…

My Palette

Sections of the single palette used to create “Quiet Reflection”

Begins to merge and take shape on the canvas.

Stage-01

A simple sky and outline of the foreground added over a solid wash

Stage-02

Working dark to light, from the background forward

Quiet Reflection: On the easel

On the easel, as I begin to tackle the foreground

Until, at last… the work is complete.

Quiet-Reflection-Eq

“Quiet Reflection” © 2017, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

This was the second of ten practice pieces that I’ve challenged myself to create before Christmas. So, stay tuned! ~ There are plenty more to come!!

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I started this blog in 2012, not entirely sure what purpose it would serve or from where I’d draw inspiration, amid such a broad spectrum of ideologies, methodologies, experiences, observations, and inner dialogue. Yet, despite the ambiguity of the endeavor, this blog has remained a faithful companion who has inadvertently become a quiet proving ground for a much larger campaign, one I hadn’t initially planned to undertake (though, in essence, I needed to learn); that of Content Marketing.

Guided by a furious undercurrent of “Urgency”, a steady persistence to avert starvation and remain steadily afloat this now fluid landscape (of online marketing), I’ve relished the opportunity to conduct my own research with every published entry, using Analytics to evaluate Reach, Engagement, and other measurable Insights on a diverse array of topics. And while the amalgamation has not been entirely seamless, it is also not far fetched to believe that, with just a little more consistency, I can efficiently synthesize my professional/creative life with its parallel universe, in cyberspace.

New Work, 2011/2012

“Becoming Aware” copyright 2012, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

I am an introvert by design. So the real significance and beauty of Social Media is that it furnishes even the most reclusive person with the ability to reach beyond his/her own confines and engage with the outside world. This intermittent interaction has not only kept me sane at times, when fully imbued with the creative fire, but it has also improved many important relationships that, in the past, merely hung in limbo during those prolonged creative periods. Social Media has allowed me to remain both isolated and connected. But more important, it has taught me to listen in a new way… by observing metrics (through which you, my audience, have a voice). Truly “Listening”, after all, is about being present and becoming wholly aware of one’s Self and one’s environment, whose conditions include the internet.

Learning to listen with the entire Self is certainly an obtuse idea. And yet, when carefully considered, it’s not difficult to recognize that when we are truly present in the moment, we not only listen with our ears, but also with our bodies, and with our consciousness, which tells us how we affect and fit into our surroundings. We listen not only to our own voice of reason, but also to our intuition, when internal signals are triggered by an external influence not always seen. But even more profound, is the idea that everything is relative, inexorably because everything we personally encounter is filtered through our own interpretation. This implies, incidentally, that the people we think we are… and the people we are perceived to be… are oftentimes two very different individuals. And I’ll be the thirst to admit that since I finally removed the proud suit of armor I once wore, to preserve “Who and What I am” , I have learned more about myself than I would have previously dared admit was possible. That’s not to say that I’ve altered my natural way of being, but instead, that I have improved the way I present myself, by listening. So as I pursue a state of complete harmony with the universe, learning to enhance intimacy with significant others, to understand my own inherent and indelible Self, etc… Listening has become a permanently open door to such discovery. And it has become the foundation upon which I now build a career from a quiet, creative life.

New Work, 2011/2012

“Projectile”  copyright 2012, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

In 2012, I was only just beginning my journey, fully committed for the first time. However, by acknowledging the fact that I had no idea how to tackle the enormous task of “Building a Brand”, I allowed myself to accept the universe’s guidance, through Active Engagement and through Discourse… through the everyday conversation of Life. I immerse myself daily, now, in that aura of mutual exchange, and it has enabled my own design and destiny to reveal and express themselves, oftentimes incalculably, simply by getting out of my own way and  admitting that I don’t have all the answers, even though I may clearly see my destination and have already embraced my dream as my reality.

While in the process of preparing my submission to the West Austin Studio Tour, a friend of mine discovered and shared an article that helped me find my own words (for an artist statement with which I always struggle). The article is an engaging piece that truly resonated with me, a long-lost interview with the famous French painter, Henri Matisse. (link provided below)

As I explored all three parts, which cover a broad range of topics, Matisse seemed the spokesperson for the artist collective, tackling difficult questions with insight and eloquence while setting the tempo early with an unpretentious response to “the significance of subject” in the artist’s work. And it is in this brief statement that I found direction. He said, “The subject is me, and what I see.”

While seemingly simple and vague; “The subject is me…” is actually a bold statement, especially today, when more and more artists tend to reject the tradition of painting altogether and instead resort to long-winded explanations about nothing (please refer to  my last entry, “Whatever, Dude”).  🙂  But I don’t mean to paint in broad strokes here. Out of context, anything can and will appear trivial. My criticism is directed at those who abuse the use of rhetoric for lack of talent.

I used to take a firm philosophical stance when describing my work, not as an attempt to feign meaning, but because I honestly failed to recognize how inherently fundamental my process is. In fact, I am only now realizing that the bulk of my work is nothing more than an ongoing series of abstracted self-portraits, because, no matter what I start with, in terms of subject matter, the end result is ultimately filtered through the lens of my own experience and understanding, which perhaps distorts any truth I think I know about my subject. Yet, even such an assertion could hardly suggest that the work is frivolous or lacking in substance. It simply means that the passive viewer must also become a more careful observer in order to encounter the implications presented in a conversation with the quintessential Self, the inner dialogue that is outwardly expressed in all human endeavors.

(to be continued…)

Submission deadline: Feb. 20th

For your reading pleasure, here is the complete interview:

http://www.fastcodesign.com/3041469/highlights-from-a-never-before-published-interview-with-henri-matisse

Because I have to get into a rhythm of writing, I am forcing myself (once again) to improvise, whether related or not. It doesn’t matter. The point is simply to instill the discipline, first and foremost. (Right?) I understand that. And yet, here I am, leaving another incomplete post in my drafts folder while reverting back to this exasperating cycle of saying nothing (in so many words).

I’ve made time, every day this past week, to sit down and write, even if I only produced a few lines. I wanted to be prepared, d@mmit! And yet… nothing. I seemed to stumble on the same roadblock every time, getting caught up in revisions upon revisions until the topic was exhausted, incoherent, and useless. I even tried to comfort myself by saying, “I’ts okay dude. This is part of the learning curve.” Only to retort, somewhat quizzically, “Whatever, dude!” (as I made rude gestures into the mirror).

I know better. Write first. Think later. That’s the trick. But it’s exactly the thinking/revising that restrains me. That’s where my technical and creative sides collide in all-out war without prisoners. One part of me wants to inspire with sincerity and depth, while the other wants to woo you with poetic devices, even if you don’t understand what the hell I’m saying. And… perhaps you don’t have to.

All I know for sure, right now, is:

#1. Nothing is easy. (Wait. Think about this one. It’s ironical.)

And 2. You should see my drafts folder. It’s quite impressive!  🙂

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