Drawings of Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan by Velázquez
On loan at the Grand Palais, Paris
I’ve been talking lately with my friend Jessica Lah about ‘Artistic Fitness’ a term we use to describe the very traditional practicing of the an art practice. And how we both feel we’re not doing enough of it, yet we’re both very much around art. She teaches at a children’s art program and i’ve just finished term one of my MA. I frequently, if not always, have a sketchbook with me yet i don’t fill them with regularity. Too often i turn only to my iPhone camera telling myself i’ll do proper studies later. Which doesn’t happen. I just try and work larger directly from the photos, which admittedly are valuable research, but the results are not the same. The resulting work lacks a richness and it preserves an exclusionary zone in my work—something i’m trying to minimize.
Which, in a bit of a roundabout way, leads me to Andrew Bird’s Gezelligheid show in LA at the Cathedral Sanctuary at Immanuel Presbyterian. Totally entranced by the shadows of the horn speakers flowing across the the Cathedral’s warm red-lit walls, i took some video and a few photos. Still, i knew that the results would really be just a ghost of my reaction to Bird’s eerie folkie yet classical music filling that cavernous space. I wanted to draw but the light was so low and only my near-invisible-in-that-light orange pen felt right. Luckily, i got the self-restraining part of my brain to get the hell out of the way and went with it.
Not quite automatic drawing, but almost.
I don’t think these capture a gezelligheid feeling, but i think only those fortunate enough to be up close the the show’s literally close-knit trio enjoyed that a sensation. For those of us father back the feeling was different, not cozy nor distant, but much more intangible. Not ghosty, but rather expansive and mysterious and dare-i-write-spiritutal? I dunno. But any-which-way here they be. Soldier on. Soldier on.
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor talking with Patt Morrison
Pasadena, California, December, 2011