A new year rolls out ahead, ready for us to make our mark on it. I’ve been making fresh tracks in my studio using charcoal to draw the chatty neighborhood crows, the reclusive rabbit in the hills nearby, and the acrobatic backyard squirrel who hangs artfully from our grapevine in August, his cheeks stuffed with grapes. I made a print of each of the animals, and painted textured paper for an imaginary snowy landscape. Then I went on an adventure, mixing all these elements together. Voila! Fresh Tracks. Where are your mark making adventures taking you?
Dancing and twirling to the music of a choral octet, and then falling down with glee, the children in my illustrations got into the spirit of UC Berkeley’s Free Fall All – musical venues around the campus free to the public. I was waiting in line to see the free concert by The Alexander Quartet. Cal students suddenly showed up and entertained the waiting crowd by singing a cappella. These kids showed up too, and were wildly enthusiastic, getting into the music with abandon. Their “in the moment” shenanigans inspired the illustrations, which started as chunky charcoal drawings in ocher, and evolved with color and collage.
The title of my blog, Epiphany of the Everyday, refers to some wonder I see and fall in love with daily. The poet Billy Collins talks about this in his poem Aimless Love, which starts:
This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.
In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor’s window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.
Collins writes about his loves. I draw mine. These charcoal drawings show the tulip I fell for,
the last one left in the vase that over a series of days stretched and moved until its petals fell away,
and for the small pine cone that our resident squirrel had eaten down to its core.
Billy Collins continues:
But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.
After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,
so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.
Today, “my heart propped up in a field on its tripod”, I fell for another pine cone, much larger, half eaten. It’s on the shelf in my studio. I have charcoal in hand waiting to draw it, to say something about “the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it”.*
* Georgia O’Keefe, Viking Press http://www.okeeffemuseum.org/
For the entire poem, Aimless Love, visit http://www.panhala.net/Archive/Aimless_Love.html
For information on poet Billy Collins, visit http://www.billy-collins.com/All drawings: © Constance Anderson