Sit tight, coz this is gonna be a long one.
Lets get started, shall we?
Or rather, lets get prepared to get started. I have to admit: I've had a lot of trouble getting this one of the ground. Lots of false starts, unnecessary detailing of my lunch foods and even a near miss with e-drama.
But a trip to the grocery store put things right. Which is where we actually start...
It was midnight and I was entering the grocery store smack dab in the middle of the third shift's restocking routine. Having worked in a grocery store that was open 24 hours, I know what this is like. The store is basically open as an afterthought - no extra staff around to smile at you and tell you where the olives or even register your presence. Sometimes they don't even bother with wet floor signs. But that's another story about bruised egos and the hidden dangers of flip-flops.
I was in a reflective and, frankly, odd mood since the creative process had been stymied all day. Quiet Riot to the rescue. Before I even had a chance to forget the verbal grocery list I came in with, the dulcet tones of "Cum On Feel the Noize" came in over the store's muzak channel (now tuned to the classic rock station). By the time the first chorus came up, I was in the soda aisle passing a black helium balloon with skull on it clipped to the shelves. The experience was more than a little metal. It was effing metal. But not full on fucking metal. It was only Quiet Riot. And it was only a Stop and Shop.
I remain pretty convinced that this song is on everyone's guilty pleasure list somewhere in between "seeing people fall down" and "dead baby jokes". There's just something endearing about it. Its awesomely bad in the same way that "We Built This City" is. There's just something about these songs that makes the caveman part of your brain itch. In any case, I was rocking out to this song in my head as I'm sure all the somber and bored looking stockers were as well. Or at least the cool ones were. But no one was actually rocking out. What happened to the exuberance? What happened to just rocking out, embarrassment be damned? When did people start listening to Quiet Riot as passively as they would NPR?
Which brings me slowly, and a little more shakily than I'd like, to painting my little space mans.
Self reflection is a bitch. It's also part of any successful approach to improving a skill. I tend to do a fair bit of it when it comes to painting since its one of my favorite things. And I've come to the conclusion that while I've been working very hard to improve my technique/general ability in the last 5 years - and making a ton of progress in that endeavor - I may have lost something along the way. In a similar way to the uncelebrated passing of "Cum On Feel the Noize" up there, I've stopped rocking out with my painting.
Truth be told, this has begun to gnaw at me a bit.
While my models have gotten prettier, fancier and 'tighter' overall, they have gotten less interesting in a way as well. I think this comes down to the fact that I've been chasing the wrong thing. So have a lot of people it seems. Though I fully admit that I may be constructing a reality in my own head that doesn't reflect what's actually going on - though I will continue in an inclusive manner.
In the pursuit of all this technical excellence and Golden Daemon level of quality, a lot of us have forgotten all about pursuing the ever elusive je ne sais quoi.
In a way, this whole train of thought started off as a result of some of the weirdness that Brent tends to attract. Brent had been receiving what I thought to be undue criticism at the time over a series of his latest painting projects. I thought the models were great and that the critic were missing the point. It was cheesing me off. I'll go ahead and tell you now that I was wrong. About the critic - not the models. Those are fucking great.
|I would like to point out that these dudes ARE fucking metal.|
So checking out the potential target's own work, I found that he was a talented painter. Between this fact and talking to Brent about the situation I came to the firm conclusion that the Master Manipulator was not being a lobster at all. Important internet life lesson: Do your homework. Rather, he was genuinely giving criticism in the hopes that he would be able to push Brent to a higher skill level.
Mulling over the situation after the fact, I can tell you now exactly what was sticking in my craw - and making me a bit of a hypocrite: I was reacting to the technical nature of the advice. It was all about realism, color choice and technique. It seemed like it was ignoring the unique color choices and visual elements that gave the models in question that special something. And consarn it, painting's about so much more than brush control and highlighting techniques!
Then I looked at my own advice and my own models from the last few years. Oops.
I think that's it for chapter one - in the spirit of what I'm on about with this whole thing, the style of this post is a bit experimental so please bear with the wall-o-text, general rambling and potential double ending. There will be a lot more on this later so please keep reading and please comment. - Lauby