Posted on 08/25/2013

Photo taken on August 24, 2013

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This drawing and the two that follow and precede it are part of lessons from a college drawing text. They are somewhat automatic drawings (surrealists came up with this approach [but Masson's stuff is really the most amazing] and it is humerous that the author talks about it as relaxing, a sort of altered state of consciousness, but she fails to mention that the folks who originally did this got stoned or smashed or both in order to do it) because it is not so hard for me these days to Just Stop Thinking. So is this what remains in my brain when it is semi turned off? I don't know because the Bzzz drawing I know comes from recently seeing part of a bumble-insect nest on the sidewalk and also noting the buzzy activity all over the lavender growing in the neighborhood around the apartment building.

I've also saturated myself with learning about "outsider art" which is art done by those with no formal training (isn't it fascinating that "training" is the word used regularly and often versus "education"? and yet this absolutely refers to college/university "training"; and self-study doesn't count), folk art, culturally-specific art (think the aboriginal art from Australia, both old and current), art done by the mentally ill or otherwise handicapped or institutionalized, and on and on. The list is VERY long. Those isolated and disconnected are also included. For example, there was all of this stuff done by a guy who was deaf and who knows what else in the Garden Valley area in Idaho just north of Garden City where I used to live. Outsider art is also attributed to those who are not engaged in any knowing dialogue with the museum/gallery industry although there is one clever (and probably insane) woman who used to stand outside a museum I believe in Chicago on the steps and sold her stuff. So part of this non-representational drawing work today was done out of exhaustion from a clinic day in hell yesterday and also because I'm curious about how someday (if I live another ten or more years; it will take that long) I would fit into the art scene. Maybe in another five years I'll stand outside the SAM under the Hammering Man statue and have a little mobile booth using my Homeless Person's Cart and try to sell my drawings. Or maybe it will be the basis of being essentially deaf, seeing out of one eye, long-term unusual cancer survival under palliative treatment, goo goo gah gah speech, stomach tube, walking stick, a very weird looking neck-on-up, and having no formal "training". Why do I hate that word so much? The VA uses it endlessly. Everyone is forever being trained in this and that. I think about training as applying to a pet. A person who shows dogs "trains" the dogs to behave in specific ways in specific circumstances. Is that REALLY what we want to say about ANYTHING we are doing with ourselves or others? Jaysus.

These three drawings are studies done in preparation for a larger more formal piece. Who knows if that one will remain in my un-thinking brain or if it will eventually see the light of day? And also for a drawing (which will probably more fall into the category of illustration) of a poem by Louise Erdrich. This one I know will become real because part of it is already done.

A motivation for these drawings pointing to letters versus merely scribbling, is my recent more keen awareness of mild dyslexia. More and more I can't tell which direction is correct for the letter E or N or S or the number 3. Not a new thing, just more intense. I have figured out, interestingly enough, that the reason reading is so slow for me is that I am working to actually figure out the words. It was a revelation earlier this week when it came to mind that if I overtly internally stated to myself that I WOULD understand what I am reading that I did better with it and there were fewer episodes of stopping and re-starting sentences or ending a page and realizing I had no idea what it said and then going back to re-read it only to find I still didn't understand it. This is one reason I was always so mesmerized by ERJ's fabulous reading comprehension. She would also know all of the characters names and everything that happened. I have no idea how I managed to ever read a Russian novel because I never could remember the characters from page to page.

The drawings were done with embossing styluses, graphite stick, charcoal pencil (white and black), markers, ink, white China marker, crayon, Conte crayon, black carbon pencil, and sanguine chalk. The computer didn't play much of a role except to bring the drawings back closer to their original appearance after scanning. Scanning tends to mute colors and reduce contrast so I made adjustments to fix these post-scanning problems. For example, the Bzzz drawing was done on black paper and it scans in as dark purple. Obviously that wouldn't do. Or is it "due"? Maybe I need more training. I also enlarged the originals. Which I guess now makes the digital versions the originals. Or is it that the digital originals are the versions. You see how confusing everything can become. I better figure out what those surrealists were on.