Sometimes I make up surprises for myself, just to wake up the “fun” spirit inside me.
There’s nothing like a blank piece of good art paper drawn out of its brown wrapper and placed on the art table. What about some MARKS?
Dealing with ennui is no stranger around here.
It’s not that life is not entirely worth getting out of bed in the morning– but a stillness sets in and one longs for a good Cage Rattling. To get the juices running, you know?
When I decide to draw that paper out into the bright lights and give myself permission– that is the essence of PLAY. And PLAY is at the center of invention, in my opinion. PLAY is what teaches a very young child a huge percent of what will be its entire life-long education.
So I began by folding this rather soft, buff hand-made drawing paper at places that seemed good. Roughly thinking about the “Golden Ratio” and how powerful a design discovery it is, I made folds in certain places in the paper, creasing it firmly, but not forcing it. (The paper is delicate. Folding could easily “break” this paper.) Not a bad beginning for a venture of art, I thought.
Then I painted one folded end black! That was a surprise. It seemed decisive and simple to me. These days, it is such a pleasure to be simple and decisive! One can do what one likes with an experiment– it’s a delightful part of marching into a wonderland.
Picture this: I am right now, in 2018, several months into my 80’s! I have at times pictured myself as a representative of The Graying of America.
This cartoon was from about four years ago when I moved into the apartment in my kids’ basement where they take care of me.
So the wide wide world of independent travel and running all over the place in a car has gradually faded into “story” and the present is so much easier to keep up with, mostly spent between the four walls of my little art studio. And I find it very much a wonderland, surprisingly.
The surprises come from unexpected places. It’s rare to get a handwritten letter in the mailbox, and I cannot hear well enough to enjoy phone calls any more. I take a lot of naps. But it’s still really really worth getting up in the morning here in my digs.
I have a playground in my desktop computer that I use regularly. It’s like the town General Store in old westerns where everyone talks about what’s new.
And who did I find in the general store today but a friend from sixty years ago, popping up like a prank–putting his presence right in front of me as if it were yesterday! My old flame! On my website comment space!
A gift! A surprise! Like the fortuitous ink drop on a Motherwell painting! Totally out of the blue!
I’m looking at the project at hand now. My fresh experimental work is called, for an arbitrary reason “Window Painting” since the horizontals and verticals remind me of windows, and windows are exciting metaphors for me, along with doors, and chairs.
I just put some fiddly details into the mix because I wanted to think. I made twists in what might be cords hanging from the top of the window. I’m not sure it is a good addition. But the repetitive doodling activity was good for my retrospective thoughts– snapshots of memory of specific times and places back in my late teens and 20’s. A certain soccer captain, and musical soul who went his way when I went my way. What a blessing to think of that time I stood on his shoulders as we clowned around on the back lawn! Were we playing croquet? I don’t remember, but it was such a fun evening.
SGH June 28 2018