Roads Not Taken

My art is a rite of passage.  I emerge from it weary, frustrated and temperamental.  It is a journey that winds sinews around brain, heart, hands.

When I draw, my eyes wander over the surfaces of my subject: curves that wind and widen, dip and disappear, straighten, stop and start.  The slightest fold is an expedition into texture, light and shadow.  It's no wonder, perhaps, that a square inch of work leaves me tired and shaking.

I finished this today:

It's a favorite subject of mine.  Scarves.  I have so many:  silk, cotton, velvet; stamped with patterns of cities, castles outlined in turquoise, leaves and peach-colored shells.  They are embroidered with fiery sequins and beads, decorated with knots, bows and spirited fringes.

This particular article was a mild, pastel green.  In my uneducated hands it felt like rough silk.  The fabric was delicate, with each individual thread standing apart and catching its own angle of light; so what I held was like five feet of shimmering air.

This took me about a week to draw.  Every day, as I peered into the green folds, it seemed as if I was traversing meadows, hillsides and bowers that I'd never seen before.  Sometimes the path was wide and verdant…sometimes it took a sudden turn and vanished completely.

I like this picture.  It is a travelogue, a cartographer's fancy.  It is my sculpture; carving into stone, through silk and across fields. 

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11 responses to “Roads Not Taken

  1. I love this piece again. Your words and drawing are both moving and thought-provoking, as usual. I've never tried looking into and through the folds of a scarf but I shall certainly try now. Thanks for your beautiful post. Reading your entries often gives me such a calm and peaceful feeling.

  2. Ah, you brought back memories of college where we would do still-life studies of drapes in pastels, watercolour and oils.
    I would love to see pics of your scarves.

  3. Beautiful drawing. I love scarves; I try to wear them even in the summer.

  4. There is something so peaceful in those folds and stitches. I really like it, beautiful chaos of wrinkles fabric

  5. Your description of the drawing process reminds me how much I've always been frustrated by trying to capture dimensionality and complexity on paper.

  6. Very good! At first I thought it was a study in contour-line drawing… but closer inspection shows that thought may be wrong.Either way, congrats on finishing something that looks like something (and not a bad something to boot)! 🙂

  7. SHorse – It's also disconcerting to see the folds and textures of fabric when looking at hillsides and mountain ranges; disconcerting but fabulous!
    Suga- – Most of my scarves are my mother's; 40-50 years old. I also have a few from Liberty's of London: as lush as you can get.
    Porphgyrl – Thank you! Scarves are the perfect accessory – the one that no one expects to see. I tie them with the bow at the back of my neck – a co-worker once said that I looked like a present.
    Lavender – It was sort of peaceful, getting the feel of the landscape, and understanding it, and knowing where the next turn would be, before it even appeared on the horizoin.
    Pen – You capture it s-l-o-w-l-y – very slowly!
    My Queen – We tried contour-line drawing in high school, and I never got the hang of it. I wonder if any of my art classes taught me anything – other than forcing me to go out on my own.

  8. A square inch of my work leaves me tired and shaking, too: I'm an accountant. Every day, as I peer into the ledgers, it is as if I am traversing meadows of accruals, hillsides of amortization, and, yes, bowers. Sweet bowers of deferred costs.

  9. I see the layers of stone pressing up from below. Laid down eons ago by some prehistoric knitter. :)Nice work and nice post, Aubs!

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