down memory lane

No pen and ink this time…

The date on this drawing is February 13, 1978.  I was in college (the first time).  I was experimenting with techniques I was learning at that time, and with new materials: graphite sticks and conte crayons on pebble board.

The drawing classes were challenging: the instructors forced us outside our comfort zone.  The MFA grad student teaching this class, (First year general art students at that time usually had grad students as instructors. ) encouraged what I’d call “structural” drawing as opposed to fine rendering.  She wanted us to “follow through” when making lines.  There is a skeleton or framework behind things, and the construction shouldn’t be hidden.

For example: the horizontal lines of the window sash are visible through the girl’s arm.  The rim of the flower pot is visible through the hand.  The window sash handle is another example: it is drawn incisively with straight intersecting lines, and the lines are not tidied-up.  The instructor de-emphasized surface treatment, so I’m sure I was pushing it to have done as much detail rendering as I did.  (Sorry, I have no idea what grade I received, or if indeed this was done as an assignment.  It was over 30 years ago, after all!)

Anyway.  I’m posting this image because it reminds me of things I’ve not thought about in a long time.  Mostly, it reminds me of what used to inspire me to draw.  I remember vividly that the inspiration here was a photo of this child peeking out from behind a parent’s leg.  The photo accompanied a magazine article about shyness in children. Other than feeling a kinship with the child (I was a painfully shy youngster), I was mesmerized by her eyes.  The drawing grew from there.

The other stuff in the drawing?  Not sure where it all came from… except that back then, I was fascinated by all things ephemeral/emotional/evocative.  I was very comfortable blurring the lines between the real and the unreal as well.  Some might think the drawing unsettling with its references to death/loss: the ghostly child, the pot of dandelions going to seed, bare tree branches and cracked window pane.  Others see nothing dark… just an interesting drawing.

I’m not sure what I see in it.  Mostly memories, I guess.  And a reminder that inspiration can come from anywhere.

How about you?

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4 Responses to down memory lane

  1. jenniesisler says:

    Interesting to leave pieces showing through, since that’s not how our eyes actually see things. I like the composition overall, but I’d have to get used to seeing lines where they wouldn’t naturally occur.

    • It definitely took some doing on my part as a very new art student to learn to “see” things the way that grad student saw them! LOL But it was a good exercise… she was the same teacher who tried to get us to draw the space around objects instead of the objects themselves. I think of all of the instructors I had during my brief time at that particular institution, what she taught made the biggest impression on me.

  2. Liz says:

    A very compelling drawing! I really like the style, with all the bits & pieces showing through. Very intriguing!

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