Sunday, October 14, 2012

Jumping Jimmy Johns! Is it Juxtapositional Justification or Just Junk?

I have a thing about lining objects up. I feel an intense compulsion to place objects on my desk, paper, the kitchen counter, the wall... so they create an imaginary line that leads smoothly towards items nearby. Having intersecting lines from several directions is perfectly allowable in this mental game I play, as long as the objects are perpendicular to each other.

But it isn't so easily discerned. Sometimes these items can be skewed, however, this skew must have a reason or logical placement. Remember, all lines from point a to point b must serve a purpose. I am required to have a reason for this skew. This skewed, anti-perpendicular object must also connect on an imaginary line to some other anchor in the setting.

I suppose this compulsion is my own West Coast, home-grown, version of Feng Shui. Now Feng Shui is a beautiful and complicated system of using the Tao of Heaven and Earth to improve life. I am simplifying this terribly so I will call my own version "Fan Shoe."

Fan because I do love film and television and I am a fan, but can behave myself in the presence of celebrities. (I did see Elvis in concert at the Coliseum in 1976 and not once did I scream out "I LOVE YOU! Also that same year, Danny Kaye touched my face and I didn't dissolve into an incoherent puddle. More recent testimony had me wiping Eddie Vetter's... saliva? off with a napkin as he was spitting on everyone during a performance at the ShowBox in Seattle. I am happy to report the napkin ended up in the trash, not on Ebay.)

And Shoe, well, because I actually want to love shoes, however, I don't have a wardrobe that would complement a great pair of shoes, so you see, old clothes/new shoes is not Fan Shoe in my world. Old clothes/old shoes is a straight, uncluttered line from point a to point b. Capice?

After Gerard and I got married, we moved to Ellensburg, Washington to go to school at Central. We rented a little house on a cattle ranch and had the full use of a tethered goat to mow the lawn.  That was interesting and a story for another day. What interests me here and now about that little farmhouse, was the shed out back.  It was shifted just a few feet away from being perfectly parallel to the house.

It drove me crazy. I couldn't go behind the house because my eye would be drawn to it in an effort to understand why they didn't move the front end a few feet to the left. Gerard knew how much this bothered me and he actually considered jacking the shed up and moving it the few feet. It was a sweet thought... thank goodness we moved before it came to that end.

Our garage shares a similar relationship to our house. It isn't quite as bad as the poor unfortunate shed because the line of the driveway makes a sensible bend as it curves its way towards the garage doors. It has a justifiable curve, if you will.

Wires and cables fit into my Fan Shoe theory as well. I must have my wires hidden or lined up along the floor so tidily that they are optically illusive. I prefer not to see them at all.

I have a compulsion to keep wires in my space coiled. My mouse is a particularly troublesome example because I need enough give in the wire to facilitate the manipulation of the mouse, while still maintaining a visually peaceful Fan Shoe appearance.  I accomplish this by coiling the bulk of the wire, tying the coil in two places and leaving a ten inch span loose which I work with as I utilize the mouse. This wire business is extremely frustrating for me and, it seems I lose this battle in an effort to stay connected, I have wires running all over my office and they cross my line of vision every moment. Definitely not ideal Fan Shoe for me.

These related lines also appear in my art.  I am compelled to justify my juxtapositional arrangements. I find the order of repetition visually relaxing. I think it calms my soul. When I have troubled thoughts, I will draw vertical lines on my paper and it feels as if a pressure has been eased between my shoulder blades.

This Fan Shoe theory was in effect in my Blue Room Triptych from my post, "Everything Easy." I had many intersecting lines and they all have a direction, reason, or destination to validate their existence. I may not always remember why I placed them, but I am secure in the knowledge that at that time, those lines had purpose.

My current assignment for advanced drawing is an interpretation of this poem:

Along the Sun-Drenched Roadside

Along the sun-drenched roadside, from the great
hollow half-treetrunk, which for generations
has been a trough, renewing in itself
an inch or two of rain, I satisfy
my thirst: taking the water's pristine coolness
into my whole body through my wrists.
Drinking would be too powerful, too clear;
but this unhurried gesture of restraint
fills my whole consciousness with shining water.

Thus, if you came, I could be satisfied
to let my hand rest lightly, for a moment,
lightly, upon your shoulder or your breast.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Along the Roadside - ©2012 Darcy Cline
I can see the careful construction of lines and intersecting elements although I imagine it might be more difficult for someone who hasn't looked at this work for hours... days... and consequently been bedeviled by it.

This piece represents my first full-scale graphite drawing in years. I used to draw all the time, but somewhere along the way, I became too careful. I can see that coming out in this drawing. This careful perfectionism is what has kept we away from drawing for so long. It is emotionally draining to be so careful with something I actually love.

So, where is this going, you ask? Well, our class recently benefited from live models in the classroom and as an added bonus, we were given a 15 minute time limit to complete drawings of the models faces.

I decided to use charcoal, since I haven't explored charcoal very much... it is so messy and I do like to keep my hands as clean as possible. I have never liked the idea of smudging on purpose, and when charcoal is involved its one big smudge.

We were given a very helpful demonstration on how to use the medium, washing the drawing surface with a mid-tone to eliminate the white paper, adding in the darker shapes then finishing with reduction (erasers) or using a white conte to bring out the highlight areas.

It helped quite a bit to just jump right in and also the time limit was good for me. When given more time, I will overwork the spontaneity. I didn't have the luxury to worry about how things were lined up and relativity and Fan Shoe, etc., etc.

I think I like working with charcoal. It's freeing. I do need more practice, for sure. (My hands did get messy, though.)

See the results below.

Sketch 1 - Prior to the demonstration on charcoal.

Sketch 2 - I see my style tightening

Sketch 3 - After the demo.

Sketch 4 - 30 minutes on this sketch.