Grand Jeté?

Edward G. Nilges, “Grand Jeté?”, pencil, pen, Gimp, A4 size, 24 April 2011

Based on a nude figure study which is probably too “out there” to post on WordPress even with a warning. Actually, this type of “Jeté” is more characteristic of male dance (Corsaire & Spartacus): the female is a midair split.

Again, I use neither a photograph nor a model, instead memory and my own kinesthesthia based on my own sports and dance training. Figurative art today, to be considered of gallery quality in a major city, has to be hyper-quality, almost hypertrophied just to be acceptable to collectors.

This isn’t, but I need to follow the flaw as it were. Her forearms are too skinny and she has Scissorhands for a reason. Perhaps she’s that poor girl in Black Swan who was a 19th century artiste in a world that has “normalized deviance” – the movie basically accepts the idea that a male ballet impresario who is not gay will demand sexual favors of his girls, and the movie even shows how this could be integrated into the artistic process.

The guy in Black Swan isn’t a bad guy at all. Just a guy.

But Natalie Portman’s character will have nothing of it and is sacrificed to the machine which has produced her schizophrenia.

My take away is that I must keep on creating, writing silly poetry, taking acting jobs that don’t pay, and painting, as an end in itself. I am so “lamely and unfashionable” as a 61 YO white guy that I shall probably see no money and success from these efforts. My hope is that we all survive global warming and my sons benefit from post-humous fame as did Theo van Gogh’s children benefit from their crazy uncle’s work.

Another possibility is that like Picasso in th 1910s I overidentify with wretched traveling saltimbanques and eroticise my own troubles. Picasso’s student drawings show a rare facility and he could have made a comfortable living if he’d settled down in Madrid with a nice girl, and painted portraits of the bourgeois and nobility. Instead, he seems to have realized as did Mahler that his very skill with the basics of his art (representation in visual art, tonality in music) was an undeserved end-point of artistic-musical development commencing with Giotto and Josquin des Prez.

My goal therefore is to somehow preserve the pain of the flawed hand in a perfect hand.

Abstraction? Just too hard. I could never do what Pollock or Franz Kline did. I run out of ideas, I need nature. I’m serious. Doing a Pollock was brutally hard work, and I don’t blame the guy for smoking unfiltered Camels and boozing it up. Pretty girls by contrast are easy.

Just remember your anatomy, which I studied while flunking out of high school. The femur is buried in upper thigh musculature. The lower leg bone is visible and creates a shadow in front of the calf. And so on.

Hmm…when I do the Leonardo “mirror test” (da Vinci recommends looking at your drawing in a mirror to find flaws: on the computer, just use a drawing program to Flip Horizontal) the drawing looks correct but it also looks like she’s not leaping, but falling. We Americans are still trying to deal with September 11. But I’m going to stop right there. For now.


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