Friday, July 18, 2008

Workin' the Day Job II

Yes, I've been MIA for quite some time. I had an adventure/walkabout/spirit quest and I'm still mulling over the experience. Not sure what, if any of it will be remotely interesting to anyone but me; I have a good friend that says "the only time the phrase 'I had a dream' interests me, is if the next words are 'and you were in it.'" I think spirit quests may fall into the same category. I'm not trying to be coy; things learned in solitude are useful only to the degree they affect us in the larger world. One thing I did learn though is, spirit quests never go according to plan. Maybe that's the point. Once I stopped trying to make anything happen, things got much better. If further rumination indicates, I will share my story with you, I promise.

In the meantime though, go check out this link.

A few weeks before before said spirit quest, I modeled again at the Salmagundi Club, the place where I first met the lovely and talented Ben Conrad. The instructor, David Hassan, had asked me to come back so he could do a demo drawing for interested students. What I hadn't expected was that his right hand man, Alex Leal, was going to videotape it. You don't actually see me (which is probably just as well; it might have gotten messy, I probably would have needed a special SAG waiver, and honestly , who can be bothered?), but you do see the drawing David does. In fact you see a three and a half hour session sped up to a little over seven minutes.

I think this is WAY cool, and I don't think it's just vanity on my part (though I do like the final image, as well as the stages along the way). I showed it to my roommate; he's moving out at the end of this month, and thus has no reason to keep me happy, yet he still insisted on watching the whole thing, even rewinding some parts.

I wish there was a way to show this to a lot of the beginning art students I will be seeing this Fall. Every year there are the same frustrations, questions and insecurities that I think this video would answer, if they had the savvy to see it. For one thing it shows drawing is a lot like sculpting. David masses in big shapes, knowing that if he doesn't quite like where things are, he'll be able to moosh them around later, and get them where they're supposed to be. Because of the speed (as well as David's clear expertise and confidence) it's easy to think every line he puts down is right where he wants it, doing exactly what he wants, on the first try. In way that's true; it's all part of the exploration, the experimentation. He puts down lines to see if that gives him what he wants. If they don't, he changes them. Yes, his experience means he probably gets a lot of the lines and shapes close to where he wants them right off, but he also works in such a way (lightly, yet specifically) that he can easily change and move things as he continues, shifting lines and shapes as needed as the drawing develops.

This, THIS is the sort of thing I love about modeling; the lessons I learn from this have direct application to my work as an actor, or just a person striving to live a conscious, responsible, creative life. Experiment. Try stuff, be confident in the execution, don't be tentative or ambivalent. At the same time, be prepared to change everything you just tried, if it's not working. Commit, but don't clutch, don't be precious. If something doesn't work, you still learned something useful. Change it. Try something else. To quote Samuel Beckett, "Try again. Fail again. Fail better." A mistake on the page is still LOADS better than a blank page, with you standing there, shivering and paralyzed, clutching your unused pencil.

I wanted to rephrase that last sentence, but I couldn't come up with anything that didn't make my inner adolescent snicker. He sees sex in EVERYTHING. All of you are far too mature to have gone down that road though, right? Moving on.

Anyway, like I said, it's also just a cool seven minutes. You watch a realistic image (and pretty good likeness, my roommate and I agree) forming out of squiggles, boxes, smudges and lines. Maybe you won't see a lesson in how to live your life, but it's still a neat experience.


Jess said...

Far too mature to see sex in everything? Has it been that long since we've hung out, or did you just forget that I read your blog? :)

That video is VERY cool!

Now when do we get to see you again? We've missed you!

tornwordo said...

Love that video. I've always admired those who can draw (like spouse). I recently learned that our heads are egg shaped, not spherical. Who knew? lol

Birdie said...

That was fascinating to watch! Early on, it was difficult to see how some of the incomplete areas might end up, and watching it morph into a vivid portrait was something I want to do again. Thank you for the art lesson!

Java said...

I enjoyed the video on a number of levels. It was fun to watch as you appeared slowly, at first vague, then very recognizable.

And it's very good to hear from you again. Sounds like the walkabout was a good thing.

Greg said...

This is SO cool...can you technically count this as a "music video" for your resume?

Heh heh...he is a pretty talented artist: I sort of expected you to open your eyes and say something toward the end there, forgetting "you" were but a sketch.

Love your point of it all though, trying new things, stepping into them with both feet, sometimes roses, sometimes dog poo...but with confidence and courage.

"Too mature"?!?! You've been away from your fan base too long, dear! Welcome back...

Butch said...

I must have watched that video of the artist drawing you two or three times at least. I admire his technique and his talent. I would guess he's been doing this for quite awhile and that video can show his technique better at a faster pace than missing the nuances of how he draws by watching it in real time. The eye takes in the whole picture at a faster speed in my opinion and one can always go back and watch a certain segment over and over again until satisfied.

Thanks, I enjoyed watching it and it was a pleasure to see all those marks and smudges eventually turn into a very good drawing of you.

Joe Jubinville said...

Welcome back, mon ami. Seems your Journey To The Center Of Myself had some interesting twists and turns. Maybe a beastie or two...? And I suspect many a wonder that makes Patrick Patrick. I hope we hear more about your adventure. Dreams, and dreams recounted, are fascinating to me.

The video is irresistible. It reminds me of those wonderful clips showing continents forming, accumulating substance, presence, detail. It was Patrick from the first few strokes, its raw bones. Then as it acquired depth, the smudges, approaches abandoned and refined, but leaving traces of themselves, are very like the narratives that end up defining our faces, our lives.

"A mistake on the page is still LOADS better than a blank page, with you standing there, shivering and paralyzed, clutching your unused pencil."

LOL. Circle that with a magic marker and draw arrows pointing to it. I think Sam is nodding and smiling somewhere...

Greg said...

I just realized, Coltrane's going to have to train a new roommate!!! Just when he had you bending to his will, too.

: (

Cooper said...

I'm never too mature to snicker, my darlin' ... :)

Love, love, love the video!

By the way, I had a dream last night ... and you were in it.

Joe is always so amazingly astute, eh?

Tony Adams said...

Having now taken three drawing classes, I am in awe of people like David Hassan and i watched the video with great interest. At my class the model changes position every two minutes for ten poses, followed by longer poses finishing with one or two twenty minute poses. It really is a training session because you don't end up with a finished product. I am learning by trial and error.
On another note, I'll be back in NYC next week.

Eric said...

Good to see you back, Patrick. The video is truly amazing to watch. And I would love to hear about your experiences over the past weeks. Email me privately if you feel so inclined.

TR Ryan said...

Thank you for coming forward today on Father Tony. You have brought me great piece of mind surrounding the Nicky story. And an overwhelming urge to send you money toward plane fare reimbursement.

Many of us would have gone there too had we been invited to walk in that world but just for a few minutes. You are brave one indeed. Your sense of humiliation is shared. I wish you all the best.

TR Ryan said...

peace of mind, lol

dantallion said...

That video is really, really sharp. And from the photos I've seen, it's an excellent likeness of you.

GayProf said...

Found you via Fr. Tony. Though I know it won't make you feel any better, this is just a quick note to let you know that you are far from alone in recent events.

Birdie said...

Sweetie, it took me awhile to realize that the Patrick involved in Nicky's deception is "my" Patrick. Please know that all of us are wishing you heartfelt support. Hugs and prayers,