Part of the miracle of life is that the tiniest intact artifact, one single living cell, contains the blueprints of the entire living thing. Part of the wonder of the life-death oscillation is that though dead a leaf may tell details great and small of the tree it fluttered from. Part of the joy of mathematical expression is found in the concept of Fractals. This is the remnant of the hundreds of thousands of words I need to say to do the subject justice. [pensive frown]
This started out as the sketching equivalent of a piano finger exercise, with two grids and light, medium and dark tones. It felt like it needed some text-as-image. “Mental Blocks” was chosen for its acrostic potential. The inner trickster mandated that the words be reversed and the right-side word be turned upside down. Then things happened fast. Words were chosen to create a puzzle that might make for a mental block. The puzzle is this: given the words that are completely readable, and the constraint they follow, can the solver determine EXACTLY what the rest of the words are?
Finally, with erasure and redrawing, the rest of the image materialized: a figure chained by words and blocked by grids, wondering how to solve and be released. There are a couple of drawing problems–I’m especially unhappy with the visible hand and its shadowing–but I’m happy with it as a sketch of an idea. (Maurice Sendak, in the introduction to THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH, once praised Jules Pfeiffer for his ability to draw an idea. That’s what I want to do, and often don’t succeed in doing.)
There are two related but distinct sets of words on this page. Here is the first:
a mutter comes from cosmic convolutions
a sigh may be celestial sometimes
for fists & guns a lack of quick solutions
ensures no lack of tears nor fire nor rhymes
Here is the second:
Lamps have shades & lifts have load
Images & rocks erode
Gophers dig & bunnies hop
Humans flash & strobe white/hot
Thus we kill & mourn the moth
When I was building the image I thought of my erstwhile Drawing & Composition sensei, Darlene Goto, whose two main sets of words/advice for her students were “Darker darks!” and “Use a full range of value.” Ms. Goto, thank you.
though the flight of a bird is trackless
the local turbulence tells volumes
as billions of molecules curlicue in queue
and wingflex wrestles in a full-nelson eddy
though the air is unstained we may imagine
imprint of alulae
flux of flutter
pull dip pull dip pull
seek with unhuman acuity
parabolize trajectories onto prey
swim the firmament with a talon-clutched meal
Today I had the privilege of working with two of the true Sweethearts of the Village Gallery. One of them was Ricki Losee, as above. I hope to devote a future post to the other of them, but for today she will remain anonymous.
As for Ricki, her artwork in Prismacolor pencils is a celebration of vibrant, color-saturated life. She is at one with nature, especially with those creatures she deems Happy Things, which include birds and butterflies. Every nature drawing I have seen of hers has love, loyalty and creature-fellowship in it.
This page occurred mostly during a lull in the early shift, when Ricki asked me about my poetry and I decided to demo it for her, noting the happy fact that both of her names, Ricki and Losee, are five characters long. While I worked I talked to her about things important to her. Reverence for life is way up there, as is her love for her ornithology-inclined daughter, who is studying raptors, golden eagles in particular, and in pursuit of a Ph.D. So I have surrounded Ricki with not only a few sketchnails of her drawings, but also a golden eagle in full wingflex.
The words to the eponymous double acrostic are these:
Reverence for life ensures you have a tale to tell
If you see some Happy Things they just may say Hello
Cackles, birdsong, cacophonic squawks–and so it goes
Keeping conversation with a Condor? Do not grouse
It may turn to dietary issues–like a mouse