January 12, 2016

Father of Summer and Winter

Last summer, while visiting my father, I made sketches of him as he snoozed in a chair on his front porch.  After finishing the first sketch, I changed my position to start the second from a different point of view.  Halfway through the second sketch, my father got up to use the restroom and did not return to modeling.  Being 90 years of age earns one the right to refuse any task at hand, even sitting, so I did not press him to sit any longer.
   My husband and I had to return to South Carolina shortly thereafter so the second drawing remained incomplete...until this winter.  While visiting with my father again, I managed to complete this second drawing by sitting near him at a distance and angle similar to where I was when I made the summer drawing.  I had to change the chair to an indoor chair and add a long sleeve jacket.  With these minor adjustments I had my delayed second drawing finished.
Both of these sketches were the result of my  having been forcibly slowed down.  Last summer my husband and I were staying with my father but going out during the day for forays in to Philadelphia or New York to see the kind of art exhibitions not readily available in South Carolina, or even the Southeast in general to be truthful.  Those day trips ended for me when I sprained my ankle.  Homebound, I sketched an exotic tree in my father’s front yard and began to make drawings of him resting in his chair. 
This winter we stayed in New Jersey with my father once again and my husband and I made trips out to see friends,  visit New York museums and the Princeton University Art Museum.  That all went well until I caught bronchitis.  Then it was a stay at home trip again for me, spent chatting with my dad during his waking hours and repairing to the little guest bedroom to read and finish drawings.  Despite the bronchitis, I was more alert while completing my second drawing than I was when I made the first one.  There was a model of a wooden house on the table next to the chair in which my father was sitting.  It made for a poignant inclusion into the composition, as my father's profession was building and renovating houses.
In reviewing these drawings, it becomes clear to me that I should take some more time to be with my father.  It would probably be wise to schedule more  rest time  and take care to see the beautiful in the every day; a tree that evokes an image of a cyclops, a man at rest.   One should do these things before a body is relegated to do so by getting orthopedic injuries. 

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