I was sketching one morning as is my preferred routine. This poppy was drawn on the day Vanessa and Jamieson celebrated eight years together. I drew it with delight for its sunny appeal, knowing it would accompany their post of congratulations.
Completed, I saw it lacked the vibrancy I had sought and longed for. I tried again with watercolours on watercolour paper to contrast the sketchbook coloured pencil version. Perhaps inferior supplies was to blame. However, the emotion had been used up in the first version and could not be replicated for the second regardless of supplies.
I gave up before finishing, having become bored. Impetus had dissolved. I posted nonetheless and some liked it. I line them up here, side by side, for my own observation.
Tulips are delightfully frumpy. They flop about. Petals lag. Leaves jut out at all angles. All in uncontrolled beauty. They draw me, so I paint them. Some I approach with an eye for detail. Some I splash about with abundant colour to catch their voluble beauty. Others I represent in naive scratches.
Our driveway, one long quarter mile lane, is punctuated with ground squirrel holes. It looks like someone, without any sense of design, created a very narrow mini golf course.
We are adverse to poisoning and we don’t own a gun. Of course we have two large dogs. Useless. Both of them. One guards one hole all day while many rodents prance around behind her back in complete freedom. The other dog races after the squirrels with the stealth and grace of a rambunctious elephant. Naturally the rodents disperse by the time he arrives. He looks around, distinctly perturbed at their absence.
This explains why I was so surprised this morning, to see Thor, the graceless young elephant, trotting proudly down the driveway with some limp thing in his mouth, flopping in his rhythm. I cheered with disbelief, delight and praise. He promptly changed direction and came happily running towards me, little floppy intact. I gave a nervous laugh and assured him he needn’t bother. This did not deter him. I made an about face and headed back towards the house. Not understanding human emotion or hysterics Thor caught up to me and started bumping me in the back with his prize. With a grimace and increased pace I was soon back in the house. Thor looked up at me as I looked back at him through the window. He finally dropped the squirrel, with a look of confusion as to why I did not appreciate his kind gesture.
There lay the remains on my patio. Thor is far better at chasing away all predatory birds, our only hope in this matter, than he is at catching ground squirrels. I think he had chased a hawk away and collected the loot, which was when I saw him trotting home with it. I scooped it up and flung it into the bush in a completely futile attempt to return it to its rightful owner. Thor didn’t seem to care. He preferred his bone of bribery. But my temporary hope was dashed as I realized that we were destined to have a mini golf course for a driveway for quite a long time.
I’m reading about art. A book on how to produce it. The intro of this ‘Draw What You See’ book, says that drawing an exact duplicate of what you see in nature does not automatically make you an artist. I was both relieved and surprised. I thought of Robert Bateman who is known for his detailed accuracy in depicting nature. However, for my own sake I was very happy with this theory. The artist/author went on to say that though this may be true, in order to begin the attempt at being an artist, one must learn to draw what the eye sees. It doesn’t make me an artist if I can successfully draw what I see but it starts me on my way. Something like that. Makes sense. And if you can’t draw what you see you sure as hell can’t paint it. So here sits my little frog, one of many in a long line up of attempts; drawing and painting what I see. One day when I grow up, maybe I’ll be an artist. Until then this little dude quite happily exists to wish Vanessa a ‘Hoppy Birthday’!
I had three mistakes. Three versions of the same poppies. The result was three very distinct errors. They gathered dust on my desk expounding their failure. Taking the challenge at hand I began to resurrect. This was the last of the three. It had been the worst. Luck promped fate. It turned out as my favourite. My pancake flowers with peas.
A closed day. Awoke with such a heavy heart. No reason in paricular. Has been gaining momentum all week. Tears sit in pools ready to spill. Outside all is frozen mirroring stark feelings. I thought I was moving towards freedom from this insipid sadness. I had hoped one day to dance again. Painting and lessons, riding and writing all patching together a life that would support this end. Today with a chest laden with a cement slab I would simply be happy for the courage to unfurl.
What does it mean to be whole? Did we start out whole? What causes chunks to fall away? What do we lose exactly? How many chunks can chip away and still allow us to function? Are we really missing something or do our feelings betray us? Is there a wholeness to be sought after or are we a continually shifting mass of mismatched absurdities bound together? Can we ever replace those elucive chunks? Does it matter if we don’t? Maybe we just spend our lives picking up patches here and there pasting ourselves together into something that passes as whole.