Monday, April 16, 2012
Exploring Automatic Drawings 16 - 30
Notes from Robert Motherwell
“What Art Holds”
Mary Ann Caws
From his reading of Anton Ehrenzweigh’s
Psychoanalysis of Artistic Vision and Hearing: An introduction to a theory of Unconscious Perception”, Motherwell took ammunition for his views about automatic scribblings or doodling as indicative of something below the normal and expected surface. Ehrenzweigh emphasizes the way in which the human psychology, longing for a smooth, understandable gestalt, is likely to “cover up and smooth out symbolic forms” in order to restore an articulate structure and what seems a rational entity, ruling out any psychology of depth.
But “to a great extent, the creative process remains on an unconscious, inarticulate level where unconscious perceptions communicate themselves directly to the artist ‘automatically’ writing hand”. So the task of the artist is to ‘disintegrate the articulate and rational surface perceptions and to call up secondary processes in the public” calling on the secret life of the emotions, those techniques of scribbling that have there direct outcome in emotional power. The musical equivalent of this is the accidental glissando and vibrato, those unintended inflections that express something more profound than the smooth surface.
In order to open up these possibilities, Ehrenzweigh shows how the techniques of the modern “automatic” painter manages to retain the “ initial stage of fluid gestalt- free perception by suppressing all definite formative ideas/”
It was this technique that most interested Motherwell. As for the general particular tensions between the verbal and the visual, they came radically personalized in surrealism
... From Matta he took the idea that forms could be torn, like wounds in the picture - again like the moral statements art could make, must make. Most important of all, it was from Matta that he learned about the automatic beginnings of the painting gesture, what became the Motherwell “doodle” or spontaneous scribble at the origin of many of his works. It is what starts you into your spontaneous creation; it is at the source of enthusiasm.. It is far from trivial.
Motherwell - In my case I find the blank canvas so beautiful that to work immediately, in relation to how beautiful the canvas is as such, is inhibiting and, for me, demands too much too quickly; so that my tendency is to get the canvas “dirty,” so to speak, in one way or another, and then, so to speak, “work in reverse,” and try to bring it back to an equivalent of the original clarity and perfection of the canvas that one began on/
... So the doodle mediates between nothingness on the empty page and the mind eager to express itself. The term ‘improvisation’, as in a 1991 work of that name, prepares exactly the aesthetic ground on which the witness to spontaniety occured.American as improvisation may sound, Motherwell’s doing them was tinged with the Oriental, because at the moment you let your “hand take over,” it is as if you’re painting with someone’s hand. You have to give up the major emphasis on yourself... here the thinking is in the doing, in the painting, in the enthusiastic way you open yourself up, give yourself over, to the spontaneous start.
...”Doodling, “ Steinberg had said, “is the brooding of the hand.”
... The initial contact with the canvas, say, this line or stroke thrown down, just like that, can lead where we may want to go.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Errol Moo Young - Exploring "Automatic Drawings" Numbering 1 - 15
In January 2001, I decided to challenge myself to do 100 drawings in a month. The target date wasn’t met. The first drawing was completed on the 21st of January. The 100th drawing was finished March 11, 2001.
It was an exercise in doing ‘automatic drawings,’ - line drawings, doodles to some, which evolved on the paper. The lines were freely drawn, wandering over the blank paper. The first drawing was whimsically called " Led by the Line.” This would summarize the semi conscious state in which the work was, sometimes, rapidly done. At other times the process was slow and reflective. Not in the sense of unfolding a narrative. But to see what would appear next. What would be the destination each linear journey.
Reading Robert Motherwell’s book and seeing some of the quotes, reinforced some of the thoughts I was having. Freely evolved from doodles and scribbles, but with a deeper meaning. A starting point for more involved action - such as the inclusion of color, contrast and composition. Always new in content, shape and form.
Always experimenting and trying to explore new horizons, or confined boundries, restricted, then free flowing,
unbounded by rules or styles, hoping to reach a depiction that was uniquely mine. Evolving from my mind.
Here is the first set of 15 automatic drawings in the series.
Monday, April 2, 2012
" THREE EMERGING"" - MODERN ABSTRACT PAINTING/COLLAGE ON PAPER by Errol Moo Young
The 49th in a series featuring and showcasing some of my Contemporary Abstract Art Paintings, Drawings, Collage and digital experimentations and explorations.
Today's title is "Three Emerging". The abstract artwork fuses collage elements of drawing, collage elements and painting.
It's a flurry of activity, almost confusing as three figures emerge from an incarceration of expressionist paint.
Using the gallery approach demonstrates how abstract artworks can be displayed on walls in a variety of colors.
The frame and mat around the photo are used for design purposes to enhance the paintings, the frame is not for sale.
For more information about purchases and a more comprehensive view of my contemporary abstract art drawings, paintings, collages and digital fusions, visit -
more artworks on video can be seen at- http://youtube.com/Emooyoung
or for more information write me at