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Joe's Daily Drawing

1998, Year 1
No. 28 Aug 20

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See also the other journals:

Art Journal 1.5 Creative Journal 1.5 Pablo Journal 1.3 Marketing Musings on Art 1.5

Rembrandt: Bathsheba
The story behind the picture

What is art?

Beckmann / Gruenewald
Expressionism through the ages

Watching Success

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by Joe, Gallery Daguerre at Art Quarter


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Time to leave those old times ... Long time ago ... Was a young man then ... Nostalgic feelings, looking back ...

Something new: This is a recent drawing. High number. And another self portrait.

No mistake. I'm never sitting in front of a mirror. But I can't help, it's always me. I didn't realize, though. Back in the seventies, when my first wife was still with me, I did a painting with a dancing woman and a man obviously adoring her.

I told her I saw some resemblance to her in that dancer. She replied immediately: "It's not me, it's you!" "Why, it's a woman!" "Now look at that nose! It's yours!" I silenced. I did not know how my nose looked like in profile.

I don't know where I read that truism: The portraitist always paints a mixture of the person portrayed and himself. And if he does something else, it's probably the same. Well, that's a universal rule: You are your nose insofar as nobody has your nose, same thing with your eyes, ears, you name it! You are your environment, furniture, clothes, your voice, your motion, why not your paintings?

But here is something more specific: If you look at lots of my works, you will seldom find a still life or a landscape, and not a single abstract thing apart from those paraphrases of early days. Almost always you will find at least one head, and if there are more than one, there will be one in the center or somehow prominent.

I learnt to read the images like dreams, where psychologists maintain that every aspect of the dream is me. So this light woman on the right is me and the dark one on the left, too, the birds, the snake, the moon, those unidentified objects, and, of course, the hero.

I will most likely project these figures on living persons, too, so the hero will be my ego, the light woman my wife as I would like to have her, the dark one my mother as I tend to see her, and maybe this painting tells me something I don't know consciously.

I painted this kind of constellation several times before without knowing what could be meant. I should have known from experience and reading what was meant by the time I did this one, but I did not realize it, proving that the reality of the soul is different from the reality of reason. You can see the forces of my soul working.

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I'll try to put it in words, risking that it sounds ridiculous. My mother put a spell on me - of course, she did not know. She named me after the man she loved. She never mentioned him. My father does not know about him. He fell in WW II, and I was to become his substitute. When my family saw her the last time before her death, she talked at length about him and how she always wished I would be like him (my father was in the other room).

Now imagine this: I did not hear it at all! At least I can't remember anything. I was totally ignorant of this guy. I know now because my wife told me. She always heard her talking about him, ever since the first time she met her. Must be 20 years from now.

When I made a family constellation last year, some kind of therapeutical setting, the first thing the therapist said was: "That's difficult. No woman will get this man." Maybe the hero knows now and feels all this power bound by the spell. He is not free yet. And quite exhausted. But you can see how lively the birds are.

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