Today was a sort of automatic drawing. Just started and kept adding color and form until it seemed done.
Someone once told me a story about an art teacher whose students did interesting work without fail, who said that the students weren’t any more talented than other students, she just knew when to stop them.
Maybe artwork can be a little like that. You just have to know when to stop.
In this drawing, Gracie waits impatiently while the Turkey is cooking. Cats love to be underfoot when they smell cooking, don’t they!
The drawing is based on a photo I took one morning while Gracie looked longingly as I poured half-and-half into my coffee, but whenever we cook something with meat or fish in it, Gracie and Mikey run around looking cute, sometimes they even play fight so that we give them their share.
A circuitous drawing today that began as an exercise in winding, but became more like a fingerprint.
I’ve often felt like it is an amazing phenomenon that we should have exactly the twists and curves on our fingers that we do. It gives me an almost mystical feeling that of all the ways chemistry could have resolved itself into my hand, that these particular swirls and whooshes should have been the ones that are my fingerprints.
This drawing takes some of the formal qualities from the abstract portion of my project– intertwining lines, blurred colors– and puts them together in a different way to create some more dynamic movement.
Migraines are strange things, and I’m never sure when I’m talking about them if people understand. Another student at SAIC when I was there did a series of paintings based on what her auras were during a migraine. They were very different from what I see/don’t see.
This drawing isn’t what I see during a migraine, but it is maybe a little bit how it feels, the desire to move into light and the reaction I feel for it. A feeling like there is a moving barrier between me and the world. It’s hard to describe. Wanting warmth, light, companionability, but knowing that all three are actually contraindicated by the nausea, pain, and visual artifacts that are coming.
In the last year I’ve heard a few NPR shows address migraines, how it is a little understood neurological problem. But one thing made a little lightbulb go off in my head. I think I heard it on the Dianne Rehm Show, was that it is caused not just by vascular issues, but by over-excited neurons firing too often and causing various symptoms: pain, nausea, moodswings, etc.
It was a revelation to me because I can sometimes tell I’m going to get a migraine a day in advance because I feel different. No pain, no aura, just… different. And it is similar to the feeling when the migraine medicines I sometimes have to take kick in: A sort of spinning calmness and sometimes a fluttery feeling of stillness and nervousness at once.
I hope you can feel some of that in this drawing.
Today I had a migraine. Woke up just feeling a little funny, but it hit me as I drove home in the sunny snow. I had a migraine. But I got home earlier than usual, and it was beautiful outside, so I sat down right away to draw while I devoured not one but two Paczki, the jelly-donuts served by Polish Catholics in the Detroit area at this time of year to celebrate “fat Tuesday” that have bled into the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras.
Anyway, I drew my picture quickly, and as I thought, decisively. The one on the left. Then a few minutes later, despite having photographed it and uploaded it to Flickr already, I found myself adding and changing it.
I’ll leave it to you, the viewer to decide what you think of each. Clearly the photograph on the left is better, since my hand moved taking the second photo, but you get the idea.
Even drawings are sometimes a journey rather than a destination.