Monday, January 01, 2007

the light bearer

9" x 12", watercolor pencils on cold press.

I saw an advertisement in a magazine that showed a little girl carrying a lantern. I very much liked the pose, so I drew it -- altering it, of course, to suit.

I've long been ashamed that I can't invent images from my head, any more than I can compose my own music when I play it. There are moments when I feel no better than a sponge -- absorbing what's around me, and feeding something back out again.

Example. I can read music; I took private lessons to learn how. But truly, no matter how diligently I might practice it feels mechanical and stilted until I hear someone else play the same score. Only then do I have a feel of how it should really be, and I can intuit the rest, imbuing the rhythm and the accentation where I trust it to sound best.

Some might say this is a gift. I tend to just feel like a mime, instead.

Writing has a rhythm too. Writing is like playing the piano for me. When I read someone else's writing I'm feeling it out for cadence. Not the words. I don't mean the words. I mean the flow of it -- storytellers and musicians are very nearly the same to me. When it's good, you grow alert and start humming along.

The editors would call it suspension of disbelief.
I would call it synchronization of minds.

With my art, it works like this: when I find an image that's particularly arresting, when I find a color I'm taken with, I save it. I'm one to tear pages from magazines in doctor's offices, or ask clerks for fabric samples to take home. I lie and say I have to match it up with my decor and see if it works. Really I just want the color. The color, or the texture.

And I use my camera shamelessly to save the visions I can't preserve any other way.

"Go ahead. Live in your rose-colored world," someone said to me last week. I almost said: It isn't rose-colored at all. It's tacked up with scraps of other people's lives. It's a kaleidoscope of a world I live in.

I can't imagine up a better world than the one that already exists. It just happens to exist in pieces.

It doesn't mean my interpretation of the world will necessarily be the right one.
But it will mean the possibilities are going to be endless.