Monday, June 18, 2007
The little things
When I draw something it is always as if I see if for the first time. It feels as if I am a child again, rediscovering every item in minute detail. The ribs of my bottle of water become cobalt ribs with highlights and shapes that amaze me. The feathers of a bird are composed of hundreds of little ribs connected to its neighbour with tiny fluffy lines. I love discovering and rediscovering so much of what is around me when I draw.
I can get lost in drawing the same way I can get lost in a book. The world disappears and 'the zone' takes over. In that zone, nothing else exists. Not time, or space or people or surroundings. When I try to explain that to people it sounds as if I'm on drugs but its quite the opposite. I'm not escaping, I'm concentrating so hard that only what is on the end of my pencil or brush is in focus, the rest of the world is tuned out.
With books, there is a similar escape, but in words. In a post by Alyson Stanfield in her email newsletter she talks about the images conjured up by words and how perhaps we miss detail in our everyday life. I recall reading a number of 'wordy' books and sometimes having to read the same paragraph several times to have it make sense to me or simply for the pleasure of creating the detailed painting in my head that the words formed.
To bring this one step closer to art, I recall a drawing challenge that involved books. You stand in front of a bookcase containing any type of books. Close your eyes and randomly pick a book from the shelf. Eyes still closed, open the book to a page, run a finger across the pages and stop. Open your eyes and read the paragraph that your finger has stopped on. Illustrate that paragraph. If you happen to stop at an illustration, move on til you stop at text. Its a fabulous exercise to create images from words and a great method of breaking a slump in art work.
What did I chose? The book that came into my hand was The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes, art critic of Time magazine. The passage I don't recall and the drawing heaven knows where. But its an exercise that I'd like to try again. Any takers to join in?