I began a new series of drawing explorations yesterday….Three Things. I wondered what would happen on the page if there were just three “things” on the paper in conversation with one another. I find I am drawn to compositions that are just a bit off and slightly uncomfortable, as they set up a tension that is compelling.
There are four drawings in the series now, all of which are 10”x8” on Japanese Kitakata paper dipped in beeswax. So far, the materials have consisted of pencil, ink, watercolor and collage fragments, but who knows what else will show up on the page among the three things!
In the process of making these pieces, a couple of things have occurred to me. The first is a more in depth engagement with this idea of setting up a tension. So, rather than creating a composition in which things feel balanced, I find I rather enjoy the sense of the “off” balance. We seem to always seek a kind of balance in our lives, as we struggle to offset work and play, or work and life, activity and rest, time engaged with others and time alone to reflect. We seek safety and security, so we can feel at ease. But there is a delicate line there….too much ease and we eventually become bored, and begin seeking novelty, the unexpected. Or this....maybe I am seeking this unbalance on the page, because my life is currently a bit out of balance. It's an outer reflection of a longing for balance that I feel inside.
In these compositions, the three things are placed somewhat at odds with one another, so that there is almost (at least for me!) a visceral yearning to move these bits to new locations where they will feel more traditionally balanced…where they will make more sense. In the end, I’ve come to realize that is what I’m after in the work. The yearning….that’s actually what I’m after….evoking that nameless yearning we carry with us through our days. Do you know that feeling?
So, what are the three things? I don’t know until they appear on the page….these pieces unfold like the daily drawings….through the movement of my hand, while my thinking brain is always a step or two behind. I can’t say what the relationship is, but it’s a story waiting to be told. You can tell it as well as I can, I’m quite sure. For me, language doesn’t quite get at it.
And, just what constitutes a “thing”? In the first drawing, for instance, there are countless little lines and marks that become loose shapes, each of which reads as a thing….in conversation with one another and with the little jar alone with its shadow. I thought of this as I made those marks. We are each one thing….we are an individual mark, and part of a larger group….actually countless larger groups, which are also things in themselves. In this way we have multiple identities….think of all the identities you have in your life….your family, the people you work with…or play with….your larger community, your ethnic group, your national identity. We interweave these threads throughout our lives. While we maintain our own individuality, we also become part of many, many larger things.
I’m looking forward to further explorations in this series. I’ll keep going until my supply of paper runs out. These may find their way to my Etsy shop, but if you are interested in any drawings from this series and don’t see them there, let me know.
Meanwhile....look at the time....it's nearly December! Johntimothy and I have a very busy and fun-filled month ahead. Stay tuned and I'll fill you in! Until then....