Saturday, August 13, 2011
Wind Over Grass, 2009, 14"x10.5", 35.5cmx26.5cm, India ink (with a dip pen), and oils (paint and pastel) on a primed canvas sheet. I based a larger painting on this, which is included in the photo album, Midnight Sun: Wind Over Grass.
The figures in this drawing were originally from a drop-in life drawing session in 2005! After some years I transferred the sketch to a small primed canvas sheet. Then lines of bright oil paint, which I rubbed out to a pastel hue. That hung on a wall in the hall for a few years. Yesterday I grabbed it, deciding I couldn't stand seeing it anymore, and if I wrecked it, the garbage would be fine. Wetted water-soluble oil pastels, clumsier than brushes, but colour-bright, follow those lines of force, curves of bodies and landscape. Then my dip pen, old trusty pen, and a bottle of permanent India ink. No going back! No rubbing out! Don't spill the ink! I move it around my crowded desk, trying to keep an envelope under it, scratching lines in, over and over, a wind of lines flowing. I am in a trance almost, another state of consciousness, more primal, less 'thought'-ful, empty, an energy of muted frenzy emerging from the pen tip. I am not-me. I pass the point of no return. Then stop. I'm happier with the drawing, in the flush of finishing, but who knows?
Contact dance - the points of tension in the parts of your bodies that touch, and the flow of energy so that you know where the motion, the flow, your combined flow, is going. It is about the touch, and the space between you, and the flow of intuitive movement. Wind Over Grass is an exercise where one person stands as a blade of grass and the other runs to them as wind and gently touches them, anywhere on their body, touching lightly with any part of their body, the side of the palm, chin, back of the shoulder. The grass bends, sways, curves. Then stands upright as again the wind sweeps in again.
When we practice Wind Over Grass, our bodies become part of the landscape. Two years after I last worked on this drawing, it didn't hit the garbage, but is back on the wall in the hall. Hopefully, with lines of telluric energy finally moving.
All the previous drawings are here, as well as a painting that I began, but haven't finished, that's sitting on another wall (le sigh): Midnight Sun: Wind Over Grass.
Sunday, August 07, 2011
'Fluid Dreams in Green, trying to break free. Rising.' 21cm x 29.5cm, 8.25" x 11.5", India and acrylic inks, oil pastels, acrylic, Molseskine Folio Sketchbook A4.
The pencilled in words: The woman who is trapped, trying to break free. Rising.
The scanner's light tends to wash out the dark colours, and for some reason, makes everything more yellow than it is. This time I used a blue filter at 25% and, with some adjustments to mid-tone contrast and deepening the shadows, it seems to have worked.
Am I happy with this painted ink drawing? Uh, I find it quite hard to look at - but then, after I get used to what happened with the inks and paints on the paper, I begin to. People like pretty, they like sublime, not a woman rising as if out of a forest floor of mulch, slime. Yet, despite my painterly difficulties with its not being polished, and my hesitation and then determination to leave it raw, I understand the psychic process. This morning, for the first time in months, I felt refreshed, and there was a welcome torrential cloud-bursting rain storming the windows too.
The thought came that perhaps I should try and do one drawing/painting every day for a week, but carving out of my imagination one of these Moleskine Folio pages takes everything out of me.
I don't know if I'd have the emotional stamina to work on this excruciating excavation every day.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
whaleskin, 2011, 20cm x 25.5cm, 8" x 10", India ink, graphite, watercolour pencils, Moleskine Folio Sketchbook A4. (Click on the images for a larger size.)
Anchored in my mind all day, a koan. What in death does not die? I brush a wash of India ink onto paper. Ground burnt bones thickened with resins. Words in the wet wave. Words in the black tusk of the whale whose skin swims with algae, barnacles, skeletal memories of cattle, the backbones of live fish in the orange sunset that beaches the creature like a hammerhead of knuckles. The creatures of the world fight for their lives. In the mass extinction. In the radioactive orange water into which the sun has fallen. The salty sludge-lined ocean, layers of plastic bags hugging the sand, shopping for the moment.
It was a Zen moment.
What in death does not die.