Artist’s Journal: NUMBER 78

A Look At My Self


For an artist there is only one thing:

to sacrifice everything to art. He must

regard life as a means, nothing else,

and the first person he dismisses is himself…


How do I explain my process? In the beginning there nothing.  Only a blank canvas. If creation is the child of destruction, then my first mark is the destroyer of the nothingness of the blank surface in front of me. Placing that first mark is a random act. A leap of faith. A shot in the dark.

The spontaneous gesture is defined only by its placement. It is alone in its universe. Its position, color and size are meaningless. It is the second mark that is the most difficult of all to execute. It now determines contrastIt is the creator mark. Once it is given life, it is either in competition or, in harmony with the first mark – the destroyer.

LV #3 – 2016

The second mark will either be in alignment with, in proximity with or in contrast to the first mark. Together they begin to destroy the blank nothingness of an unblemished surface in order to create. Who am I in all this? Where am I in all this? I am the medium, the guide and the conscious of these marks and those to follow.

We are inseparable. Together, we create with no specific or defined objective. There is no reason, no purpose; except to continually solve the visual/math problem that we are confronted with AND the addition of every mark that follows.

Music is Mathematics heard. Art is Mathematics seen. The balance and harmony of Mathematical principle is what solves these visual/math problems. With no preconceived direction: I am I. A filter, a conduit; a host. I am nothing without them. As they are nothing without me. 

We create it; the painting or drawing. It is what it becomes. And, it becomes what it is. There are no boundaries only greater visual/mathematical challenges. Without the constraints of what I like, what I think; what I feel.

There is no consciousness of fact. There are no consequences of preconception. It becomes; and it evolves with each viewer’s gaze and consciousness. It is either something –  stimulating thought or emotion – or, it is nothing and of no consequence. What am I looking at? asks the viewer. I don’t know what you see say I because I don’t know how you look at things.

Who am I in all this? Where am I in all this? I am a painter of nothing. What I paint is subjective. Subjectivity exists in the mind of an individual. It is about equivalencies. It may be a personal or shared experience. Subjectivity is associated more with the thinking (subjective as relating to the properties of color, shape or composition). Objectivity seeing (looking at an object) as a specific and distinguishable thing – a likeness.

I paint therefore I am. I can do no more. Why do I paint? What good is a painter today? What is a painter’s purpose? What is my purpose? What do I contribute? Do I have value? What is that value? Where do I belong? No, this isn’t whining – this is questioning! Where is my place in this world? 
I am the medium of these marks, And, what does a medium do? Straddle the place between creation and destruction – the place and time in between the placement of those marks. I’ve quoted Ernst Gombrich many times and once again here. He said that, “All artistic discoveries are discoveries not of likenesses but of equivalencies which enable us to see reality in terms of an image and an image in terms of reality.” 
Equivalency in math speak is: a binary relation that is at the same time reflexive, symmetric and transitive. A binary relationship is ordered pairs of elements such as in Robin Williams’ C.R.A.P. Principles of Graphic Design.  Contrast: light, dark, etc. Repetition: sameness, duplication, etc. Alignment: position, placement, etc. And, Proximity: how close or how far things are in relation to each other, etc.
What you see in my work is real. What you’re looking at may not be!
Posted on: 14/09/2016, by : Ron Fortier
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