sketching ideas

small almost A4 size sketch of landscape with clouds.

I have a strong idea of what I want to accomplish, but I need to work through a few images and test them out.

dutchsketch1.jpg

aert van der neer

dutch painter 1603-1677 - he painted these nightscapes… or nocturnes… i’m slightly obsessed.

transcendental etude

Yesterday I spent most of the morning simply devouring the book of Adrienne Rich’s poetry. This one struck and I read the last stanza again and again - about female creative practice. Here are just a few excerpts from Adrienne Rich’s poem Transcendental Etude:

[…}

No one ever told us we had to study our lives,
make of our lives a study, as if learning natural history
or music, that we should begin
with the simple exercises first
and slowly go on trying
the hard ones, practicing till strength
and accuracy became one with the daring
to leap into transcendence, take the chance
of breaking down in the wild arpeggio
or faulting the full sentence of the fugue.
—And in fact we can’t live like that: we take on
everything at once before we’ve even begun
to read or mark time, we’re forced to begin
in the midst of the hardest movement,
the one already sounding as we are born.

[…]

But there come times—perhaps this is one of them— 
when we have to take ourselves more seriously or die;
when we have to pull back from the incantations,
rhythms we’ve moved to thoughtlessly,
and disenthrall ourselves, bestow
ourselves to silence, or a severer listening, cleansed
of oratory, formulas, choruses, laments, static
crowding the wires. We cut the wires,
find ourselves in free-fall, as if
our true home were the undimensional
solitudes, the rift
in the Great Nebula.
No one who survives to speak
new language, has avoided this:
the cutting-away of an old force that held her
rooted to an old ground
the pitch of utter loneliness
where she herself and all creation
seem equally dispersed, weightless, her being a cry
to which no echo comes or can ever come.

[…]

Vision begins to happen in such a life
as if a woman quietly walked away
from the argument and jargon in a room
and sitting down in the kitchen, began turning in her lap
bits of yarn, calico and velvet scraps,
laying them out absently on the scrubbed boards
in the lamplight, with small rainbow-colored shells
sent in cotton-wool from somewhere far away,
and skeins of milkweed from the nearest meadow— 
original domestic silk, the finest findings—
and the darkblue petal of the petunia,
and the dry darkbrown face of seaweed;
not forgotten either, the shed silver
whisker of the cat,
the spiral of paper-wasp-nest curling
beside the finch’s yellow feather.
Such a composition has nothing to do with eternity,
the striving for greatness, brilliance—
only with the musing of a mind
one with her body, experienced fingers quietly pushing
dark against bright; silk against roughness,
putting the tenets of a life together
with no mere will to mastery,
only care for the many-lived, unending
forms in which she finds herself,
becoming now the sherd of broken glass
slicing light in a corner, dangerous
to flesh, now the plentiful, soft leaf
that wrapped round the throbbing finger, soothes the wound;
and now the stone foundation, rockshelf further
forming underneath everything that grows.

(1977)

pondering over clouds

clouds are on my mind and a new project based around their changing forms. more to come. just some cloud pics for you in the meantime.

even more charcoal push and pull

these sketches are about A4 size. I try to keep the execution quick - avoiding excessive detail and aiming to look at the larger spaces of dark and light. perfectionist Julia wants me to keep going with the detail… but the other Julia tells her to be satisfied with ‘good enough’. and move on.

charcoallanscapeireland.jpg
charcoallandscapeireland2again.jpg

more charcoal sketches

I feel like im pushing and pulling the charcoal - which has a different quality than using graphite pencils…

cities4forests

On Thursday March 21 my two largest drawings, Daphne and Bark 3, were on display at the Bozar in Brussels for the Forest Policy Debate.