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Location: California

I love paper. Books printed on acid-free paper and bound in cloth turn me on. I'm crazy about bookmarks, and I buy too many stickers. I could spend hours in the build-your-own-greeting card section of my neighborhood craft store. My favorite thing to eat is bread, and my second favorite is fruit. (Mm, pineapple.) I read too much and too fast, and I watch too many food shows (two ways of looking at gluttony). Gloomy, rainy weather calms me and so I can't wait to move out of California, which will happen, sadly, too many years from now to count. I'm vegan, though I haven't managed to eliminate honey from my diet yet. I practice yoga; it's the only way I can keep fit. I have a better life than I ever imagined I would (or deserve to) have, but I do my best to enjoy it rather than feel guilty about it. That's my daily struggle -- and also to be thoughtful and observant and honest with myself.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Few Art Firsts

This week my regular drawing teacher was out of town, so my drawing class was taught by another artist, Julie Kirk. It was a good change for me; she had us work on light and shadow and concentrate on small portions of the body at a time, so that for the first time since I've started the class I actually enjoyed the work and slipped into a mode of unpainful concentration. (I regularly get headaches after drawing class trying to take in the whole of the human figure, to understand how rib cage and pelvis and head and limbs stand in proportion to one another). Also for the first time, I worked with a white prismacolor pencil, focusing on the muscles of the arm and abdomen. It was liberating and it resulted in a drawing that I'm not embarrassed to share (another first). Here it is.

It is from Julie Kirk that I heard about street painting. It immediately fascinated me. Artists, alone or in teams, paint original works or copies of the masters on asphalt in pastels. The paintings are washed off after a few days. Here's an example, from Julie Kirk's website, a copy of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I love seeing the people lined on either side of the painting; it gives you an idea of how huge it is.

What amazes me more than anything about street painting is the artists' ability to let go of what they've created. They know from the beginning that it is going to be washed off, that it's not going to endure, and yet they put in the work, they raise the act of creating, the process, above its end product. I admire this and aspire to it. To cultivate this detachment from what you've made, to look at everything you make as a work in continuous progress -- this to me is what it means to have deeply understood your craft.


Blogger Michelle Fry said...

I also think it's amazing the street artists let their creations go. Similarly,I always wonder how great chefs can stand the fact they spend hours creating something only for it to be consumed in minutes.

February 26, 2006  

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