Friday, November 14, 2014

Checking In

Funny how fast a couple of weeks can slide by. Last time I posted something here was eleven days ago. I've been writing; just not here. I've gone back to my Moleskine, which confers some freedoms while making others harder to exercise. The writing I do there feels more relaxed and less fraught, maybe because I know while I'm writing that the only one who is going to see it is me. But it also tends to be ultimately more impulsive and fragmented, because the kind of patient building and layering and re-shaping that I can do over the keyboard is much harder to do with just a pen.

I also circled back around and did a drawing over two days that harkens back stylistically to the series I was doing in late summer.


While it does bear a family resemblance to some of the others I've done along the way (see below), its architecture and temperament are uniquely its own. The combination of centripetal and centrifugal forces in the composition makes the piece feel pretty alive to me.

I started it by just just drawing and connecting the generally horizontal and vertical (and occasionally curved or diagonal) lines into a loosely structured grid, just black on white. The second step was to populate each area of the grid with some kind of shadowing, either by cross-hatching or by filling in areas with black. The last step was shade various blocks with one shade or another of brown ink. Total time invested on this one: maybe five hours. It's time that I consider well spent, even when, as sometimes happens, the experiment goes awry. There's something both calming and satisfying to me about working through the challenges that a drawing presents as I attempt to bring it to life on a blank piece of paper. It's an activity, like washing the dishes or sweeping the leaves off the sidewalk, that has a clear and concretely experienced beginning, middle, and end. And the result of the process is (most if not all of the time) visible progress. You can check that one off. It's done.

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