August 12, 2007

A Little Bit of Persia in my Notebook

Details on a Hot Day
It has been HOT! A record 108 degrees outside in fact. Since my studio has no heat or air I took a hiatus from my painting commission and stayed inside these past three days. The only thing to do in outrageous weather is hide. It was a good time to work on putting things in order for my archive and am pleased that the very last of photographs of thirty years of art work is now in order and ready to scan. Going through boxes and boxes of materials I kept coming across numerous sketchbooks as well. I wondered if they, too, should be documented. My archivist brother would say definitely yes. I’m not so sure. Most of the drawings contained therein were just drafts - incomplete raw material for later work. To makes things complicated, there is a virtual plethora of sketches of school work and museum work. After some wrangling over what to do about them, I ‘ve given in to revisionist tendencies and decided to complete the incomplete ones. They look like artistic IOU’s to me anyway. Next will be the easier task of preserving the decent or interesting ones. (My parsimony has come back to haunt me here - drawings on both sides of the page!) The easiest task of all will be to throw out the bad ones. A persistent phenomenon in artist’s lives is the huge amount of work they seem to do in their later years. I now wonder if that is really due to an increase in activity or just that the kick of mortality finally prompts a need to attend to unfinished business. One can do a pile of work by just completing what one has started.
My notebooks are an odd assortment of things. In my museum studies I had a love for medieval bestiaries, persian miniatures and decorative art. The most marvelous details could be found woven into tapestries and carpets or inlaid into cabinets. While doing my more “serious” studies of master paintings, I would fill the margins with these little gems extracted from such delights as 6th century Perian carpets. Sometimes the margins would take over and I would fill a page with marvelous animals like the ones seen ready to gobble up the unwary traveler who ventures into the end of the known world.. I’m thinking now of making a medieval view of a map of South Carolina with rapacious pick up trucks lined up at the border of Georgia. Just kidding.
I’ve taken some detail shots of my fantasy pencil drawings. The weather is better and I’ll be back on my real job shortly. But for now it’s a walk on the wild side.

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