It had been weeks since I’d made any art – a summer hiatus had made sense. Now, it was time to return to the studio. I still did not know what to make.
There is a reason it is called an art practice. If I waited for inspiration, I might rarely (if ever) make art. A practice can jump-start things.
I went into the studio. I looked around. I moved a table there, took that art down, put those works on this wall. I pinned fresh paper up. I settled in: clearing space for making.
I quieted my thoughts, opened my mind, and visualized new drawings. Charcoal drawings.
I used to draw with charcoal all the time: it is my most native medium, one I feel most fluent with. I love the nuance I can get with lines: narrow, sharp, broad, dry, crisp, wavery, clear, errant, erased, pronounced. These seductive marks not just for their own indulgent sakes, but to serve what the image wants to be. Almost hallucinogenic, the art of drawing can be like watching a dream unfold its own story, while I am wide awake. Bearing witness; along for the ride.
I love to draw, and rely on my practice to reveal what I want to draw. Need to draw.
This has been a summer of family and friends. Also of Covid (still). A “normal” summer in some regard (first in several years), and also a reckoning with what has changed in the intervening time. I am not the same: my relationships and wants have shifted. The world has spun, and with it the threads connecting me to those I love have altered – like gossamer webs dancing in a breeze.
The pirouette of love through time.
In my studio, in my mind’s eye, I picture what this looks like.
My hand traces what I envision, Conté crayon and charcoal like contrail from my imagination’s flight, like prose in black and red, like a mantra of elastic love.
Line on top of line.
Lines must be true; they can too easily become untethered from their source. Rework becomes part of the work.
Erasure and retouch and touch again, contour uncovering its truth – my truth – the truth of my love pirouetting through time, a dance between holding and having, missing and slipping, reaching and withdrawing, rising and receding.
My breathing heart: It’s why I have an art practice.
It’s why I love to draw.