Archive for May, 2010

Dispatch: Screw this, I’m going to the desert

Saturday, May 29th, 2010
Utah Desert

I'll be somewhere around here

Working too much can do strange things to a mind.

In my case, it made me think that driving to the middle of nowhere (aka “the desert”) for a week was a good idea.

I still think it is a good idea. I made a quick pit stop with the family in Southern California today, and tomorrow I’m driving the Invinci-Truck out to Utah. I’ve got food, a sleeping bag, a couple sketch books, and my freshly cut mohawk. That should be enough.

The plan is… well, I don’t really know what the plan is. I’m driving to Zion tomorrow, and I’ll stay there a day or two, then move on to Canyonlands.

It will be me, the desert, and my thoughts. I need a reset. My mind has been cluttered with stuff, and I need to let it go and start fresh.

I really have no idea what I’m doing.

Somehow, however, I know this is the right thing to do.

Talk to y’all in a week, maybe I’ll have more to say about it then.

Comments are open, but I won’t be able to reply till I get back in early June.


Dave wants a debrief. You can find out what happened on this trip here:

Self Portrait Painting for the Recharge

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

I always return to painting self portraits.

There is certainly the practical reason. It is hard to find someone willing to sit in front of me for 6 hours at 10pm on Sunday night, but I always seem to be willing.

That’s not the complete story though.

I’ve never been much of an intellectual artist. When I make art as an intellectual exercise, or to express an intellectual concept, it falls flat. In my mind, intellectual art is better served by the craft of illustration, using line to exactingly express an idea, fact, or concept.

Art works for me when it comes from emotion. If you tie me down and force to tell you what art is, and I will tell you art is turning emotions into images.

I have a hard time expressing emotions. I don’t talk about how I feel, or write how I feel, it doesn’t work. I’ve been told I have walls to guard my emotions (in one of those delightful now-that-we-are-broken-up-i’ll-tell-you-what-i-really-think-of-you conversations).

Self Portrait II oil painting by Sean Neprud

Self Portrait II, Oil on canvas, 12x12

Painting how I feel works, however. Imagery can represent how I feel in ways I don’t know how to communicate otherwise. This is, I think, why I make art. If you want to understand me, understanding my art will get you well over half way there. The art that best translates my emotions into an image is usually my best art.

Self portraits connect me back to the basic reason that I make art. When I stare myself down for hours at a time, I can’t avoid how I feel. This becomes the fuel for my self-portrait paintings. The paintings themselves don’t always hold the charge of emotion, but the process does.

I whipped out this painting you see here on the left because I felt stuck. (Being stuck seems to be going around.) I wasn’t sure what I should be doing with my art, or where I want to take it. I had no idea what images to make.

I’ve had some ideas, but nothing that really gets to the heart of what I mean to do. One of my recent “good ideas” involved roly polies. The other involved my truck. Not exactly high impact. I had decent reasons for these ideas though. Kinda.

As I worked on this painting, I was able to wrap my head around my art, and what I should be doing with it. I rediscovered what is important to me, and I have an idea which direction to move in, even if I don’t know how exactly it will show up in my art.

I know I can revisit self portraits when I need a kick in the right direction, or to figure out what is going on inside. It works.

Dispatch: Watched By Monsters

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
Velociworker pencil drawing

Velociworker is behind you

Sometimes work is a big monster, right behind me, ready to tear me to shreds. I was busy and productive yesterday, I worked until I couldn’t focus anymore. By the end of the day I would read a paragraph only to stop at the end and realize I didn’t actually comprehend a word I just read.

Focus will tear your mind to shreds.

I had half an hour this morning to draw, and this came out. What a nice quick pencil drawing, yes? I have no idea what exactly it means or why this came to mind, but it made sense somehow.

Who knows. Work today made me think of drawing something much more vulgare, maybe I’ll get to it tonight.