There once was a little girl whose teacher told her that the sun has yellow rays. She had drawn it with rays of every colour. She knew the teacher was wrong because had seen the sun that very morning through the refractors of her eyelashes. Every colour was there. She thought it was worthy of awe. The teacher, however, said, ‘The sun has yellow rays’, so the little girl drew it with yellow rays from then on.
But one day, years later, when her body was getting old, she drew a shape and coloured it yellow. Before she knew it, it became a bundle of energy that had something to do with the sun, and she realised she was that bundle of energy. She had drawn a self-portrait: a vibrating sparking electrical thing. Also a sun appeared in her sky and, although it had yellow rays, she was also yellow, so everything was ok.
An ordinary piece of cardboard
grey and soft,
with impressions of time upon it,
splashes of ink,
blotches of coffee.
Look! There! Is it a face?
A human face? A nose?
A strand of hair falling?
Place a dot of ink here, a smudge there
a slew of white gouache, and it speaks!
Opens its ink mouth, bares its sharp teeth.
It can be anything: a child,
an old man with his lifetime in his eyes,
a murderer, a virgin
the sweet woman from down the road
growing into her power,
the teenager with his penis in his hand.
There is a point that all artists seek
when life is still in the thing,
when it isn’t yet motionless,
isn’t yet stuck in the stasis of completeness.
Will the hand know when to stop?
Will the work continue to speak?
What will it say?
Busy day with an old friend. Therefore some quick play in front of the screen. I did these while watching Everyone’s a Critic on (Australian) ABC television. The first episode. It’s quite a gorgeous series about ordinary people engaging with art in Australian Galleries. I did these while they talked about an artwork called The Journey by Judith Wright. She lost a newborn baby and apparently the amazing sculptural work is about that. It is very hard to google this visual artist because of the poet, who I also love, and also her poems about birth though her children lived.
I haven’t drawn with pencils for the longest time. Usually I use pens. But I am really enjoying the ease of creating tone. They are much more forgiving. I always remember Brett Whiteley’s poem on drawing materials. Here is an excerpt about the ubiquitous pencil:
The pencil is the instrument best suited to those
when one wants to be
quick and daring and precise
but still have the opportunity
(if one blows anything)
to wipe it out . . .
Have you ever seen a
pencil drawing that isn’t safe?
Well, perhaps these drawings are not too safe?
Real sunshine yesterday and no pressing obligations for once, so we went up to Mount Crawford forest.
Some camper was there, trying to dry stuff out in wan sunlight. He’d been rained out the night before. But had actually got lost while walking and spent the night out in the rain with only his two dogs for warmth. Lucky he had the two dogs!
Only thing somewhat annoying was the noise of the helicopters flying around and around, seemingly aimless. I wondered if it wasn’t new pilots getting their hours up.
I forgot my easel but got by quite well with a camping chair and a tree.
Altogether a nice day with coffee in the thermos, scratchy charcoal and sloppy ink. Wind still chilly.
Lines from a poem by Margaret Atwood. I love her poetry.
Having a little grumble in a coffee shop.
These next two are from when we were stuck up the creek without a paddle. No, we were stuck up the river without a car, in Berri, to be precise, having run into a kangaroo, waiting for a radiator to come from Melbourne. The monument in the second one was designed by Stephen Fox and Bluey Roberts and crafted by Silvio Apponyi. It commemorates the life of Jimmy James who was an aboriginal tracker. He is shown in the tracking pose. I find that fascinating because he is ‘reading’ the ground with his hand. I had always thought it was only visual, bent sticks, etc.
I hope the quality allows for reading.
I think this is my favourite from this exercise (30 days of drawing).
Why am I so much more excited by making non representational abstracts than (most) realism? It’s something about the thing arriving, coming into being and some delicate or decisive finishing while trying not to destroy the edge of chaos with the almost unquenchable desire for order.
Am I crapping on? Probably, but still It’s pretty much where I am.
Also, can these images be termed ‘drawings’? Or do you need a defined physical subject matter for it term them ‘drawing’? (My opinion? #1: yes #2: no)
When things in the studio start telling stories.
Now I get why a kids’ plastic toy bear has been hanging around the studio.
Still don’t understand the goddess thingy. It has a skirt made out of dreadlocks from my (dead) dog. Head and shoulders of waxed fabric. Don’t ask my the why of it.
Thoughts from last night. Hope you can read it.
When the group that I’m working with on #30daysofdrawing first met, I said I didn’t know what I want to do in my thirty days. But I now realise that I knew then (though I hadn’t defined it) that I want to use the opportunity to work out where to from here (in my art). I have been hanging around a crossroad for a very long time.