Tlingit Art Daily Sketch Jan 8 – Shape-shifting

This morning my Tlingit formline designs appeared almost as ghost images before I even drew them. Sad to say, but one of the things that actually aids my creative process is sleep deprivation. You know that experience of closing your eyes and watching the shapes shift beneath your eyelids. I’m almost never bored!

Lack of sleep shuts down the logical side of my brain, I think, so my right brain that spawns my designs becomes dominant. That’s my guess, but I’m not a neurologist. I just try to see the upside of things I can’t change. When cycles of insomnia hit, I just ride it out.

A similar phenomenon occurs after I’ve worked on a painting or carving for hours on end; I’ll close my eyes and it’s like watching a continually unfolding stream of shapes coalescing, assembling, reassembling. I suppose it’s similar to picking berries all day, and then at night seeing nothing but berries when I close my eyes. I like being in that groove. The designs come on their own. Daily sketches shouldn’t be so much of a chore.

Here’s today’s Tlingit Art Daily Sketch I’ve captioned “Shape-Shifting.”

Tlingit Art Daily Sketch Jan 8 - Shapeshifting

Tlingit Art Daily Sketch Jan 8 – Shapeshifting

I don’t even remember where my starting point was. I think I started with the eye in the upper center.

I like small faces as filler shapes. You see them both as side profile and frontal view. I was told many years ago by A.P. Johnson that when they are in an eye, that’s because we see our own reflection in another’s eyes.

I’m starting to like using cross hatching in negative space. Sometimes it just looks good. Also it lets my brain pause while I’m doing something repetitious, and then I already see what to do next even as I’m cross hatching.

I don’t worry too much about the overall flow and harmony of the main lines, like I would if I were designing something for a box. This state brought on by sleeplessness has its moments.

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