Carefully drawn lines delineating the exact form I envisioned. It looks exactly like I wanted it to – from mind to paper.
What is missing?
Everything is so perfectly detailed. Nothing is missing from the motive. But somehow it seems incomplete, and I just know that adding more details will destroy it.
What am I missing?
Years of practice has taught me a valuable lesson: Grime is my friend.
Every smudged fingerprint is a blessing. Every tiny amount of stray paint or pastel dust – amazing. Actual dirt? Even better.
It is so counter-intuitive.
I used to think that “cleaning up” a drawing was the next-to-final stage that came right before signing it.
It is not.
It is an act of vandalism.
Removing all traces of process somehow chips off the motive – and obscures its soul.
Why is that?
No idea. I can only observe that it seems to work that way.
Perhaps removing the artist from the equation cuts the roots of the artwork – rendering it a strange singularity with no connection to the real world.
Perhaps the fact that dirt and grime exists all around it – if even by small amounts – makes the artwork seem unnatural if it is the only thing left out.
I won’t purport to necessarily understand.
I just know what works for me. And figuring that out has been a long and tiresome journey since we are conditioned to aim for overdone cleanliness everywhere.