The Sad Sad Sad Day!
Tere was sum peopel crodid around a space shuttle. The space shuttle went up but evreone had a funny feling that sumthing woud hapin! And sumthing did hapin!
Add a [sic] or two in there and you get the idea.
Yesterday, Dave and I began installing a very high maintenance piece of art. It’s a colorful alphabet and each letter has its own 5”X7” frame. As a whole it will cover an entire wall in the playroom, which, in our mind, will look totally r-a-d. Turns out that organizing a series of frames to create a sensible composition with a number as stubborn as 26 requires a lot of math, as well as an exhaustive amount of trial and error. As our carpet sat under a sea of illustrated letters, my husband the engineer squatted down to better analyze the negative space between rows and columns so that he could perform Rain Man calculations in his head. Me? I went for my pencil, clicky eraser and sketch book. Seeing tiny rectangles on paper that could be erased and nudged with a flick of the thumb and wrist just made the process possible for me. This way I could also scribble numbers on the left and I wouldn’t forget them the minute a new number joined what was becoming an algebra parade.
I’ve always been this way, thinking best with a pencil in my hand, using lines as a way of sculpting and building on ideas. In college, years after word processing was developed, I still wrote my poetry assignments out on paper before heading to the keyboard to type them up. Since poetry is a very tangible form of literature, filled with rhythm, syllables and wordplay, it was a way of visually molding language for me.
Currently, I love to use lines to create portraits of brides, grooms and their pets and hobbies. I look at pictures, and then solve the problem of creating linear versions of them with lots of sketching and erasing. I first represent their form as simple crosses to anchor their positioning, then draw generic figures sans clothing to get their proportions down, and then finally add their clothes and hair when I’m convinced everything else looks solid.
I never really gave this process a second thought, as it is the way we were taught to draw in our figure drawing classes in college. Looking back at my earliest drawings I can’t help but notice the different tactic I used back then, having been 6 and unaware of such nude figure drawing techniques. I admit I thought these illustrations were really good when I drew them. They’re OK, despite the inaccuracy in the figures themselves. I have to give myself kudos, however, for the amount of gesture portrayed in the pictures given the morbid subject matter.
Even though I drew these as long ago as first grade, I still remember how important it was for me at the time to nail the facial and bodily expressions. Look at the fear in those astronauts’ faces as the Challenger “ixbloded”! And that evil Egyptian really means it when he commands his slave to work. In the last picture, the Jewish slave look pretty stoked when the red sea parts, though I’m not sure what’s going on with his arms. For that I blame the crayons.