Machinations

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In 7th grade, I had to take a health class. It was boring, and I didn’t want to waste paper on my notes for it, so I wrote them as small as I could on one side of the folder. On the other side of the folder, I made line drawings: nested triangles and circles layered and interwoven with each other.

They reminded me of gears. One on top of the other building into little hills, valleys, and mountains.

It was one of the first times I can remember creating a sense of depth with nothing but lines.

The next year, an eternity later, we had to read Flatland, the book written as a novel about math. I remember it being a revelation that this layering and conceptualizing about shapes was considered to be mathematical.

In this drawing, there are more than lines, but it plays with the placement of rings of color and tone one on top of another and with the original ring and triangle layered drawings from my adolescence.

Like I said the other day, things go in waves, and sometimes they come full circle.

Relative

Observing things from different angles or different vectors allows us to see things differently.

This seems like it should be common sense, but actually, in the moment of seeing, it is hard to imagine things from any other perspective.

Making art activates different levels of perception. This morning I made an image of a tree. It brings to mind a variety of ideas and forms. This evening’s piece is abstract. Instead of working from something I’ve seen, I chose to look at color and form.

Both pieces invoke a visceral meaning, an emotional one, and can both be interpreted from a rational perspective.

They are my own works, so perhaps this is a bit stilted, but, I’d say viscerally they are similar. They each use bright colors and contrast, which makes the eye vibrate in a certain way, emotionally one is more controlled, evoking the tree as a body in the world, and the other is form without definite boundaries. And rationally, one is based upon a remembered observation, while the other was created by following a formal rule, even though it’s result is less grounded.

Life is a little like that. We make choices based upon a variety of criteria. Our values for different parts of our lives and different qualities inform our decisions about what to do when and how. But if we don’t take the time to look at those values, qualities, and actions, we can continually make the same mistake, time and again.

When other people see our lives from the outside, sometimes they make judgements about our choices. But it is just as difficult for an uninformed observer to judge our decisions in the moment as it is for us to do it ourselves. Each of us has constructed a value system by which we elect certain qualities and acts over others, and each of our elections have changed the way we see the world.

In making art, I change perspective frequently, and while it doesn’t allow me omniscience, even over the vectors of my actions, it changes my fixed perception of the world and allows me to better understand the qualities of my actions in the world.

This piece is about the different spheres of perspective, value, and actions. They are all connected, rippling across each other like raindrops on a pond, but each one has it’s own vector and frequency, which create harmony or cacophony.

Red Bark

Drawing of a Eucalyptus

This morning walking with Sydney in the park, I saw a beautiful, slightly damp eucalyptus tree with red bark.  This picture is inspired by it, though not done from observation.  Like a few weeks ago when I posted photos of Tree Corsets, sometimes I just can’t believe that I live in California even though I’ve been here for three years.  It is so lucky.

Sometimes the things we see daily can suddenly jump out at us.  Having a routine, a rhythm can be boring, but it can also add a structure that frees one to observe, and create.

I’ll do another drawing later, since I didn’t have time to do one yesterday.

Yesterday’s Drawing

Sometimes technology just doesn’t coincide.  Although I took process photos, something is wonky, and I can’t make the movie yet, but here’s the drawing from yesterday anyway.  I’ll write more once I figure out how to get the video to work.