Driving to Yellow Springs from my home at Sanity Creek, again I noticed the beauty in the lines of the barren trees. Winter used to depress me, and it still does in some ways, but there was a winter, soon after I’d moved to the country, when I could not believe the beauty of the trees without their dressing. As if I had never seen them, they appeared, a revelation.
I’ve long been fascinated by line drawings, and wire sculptures, much more than paintings and color. Seeing artists’ sketches, their studies, before the emergence of the painting, is fascinating. (Possibly I’m obsessed with process.) In college art class, the blind contour drawing was one of my favorite assignments–pulling together several ideas that still resonate: the idea of starting and continuing until a natural end, the idea of gesture, the idea of trusting “the force” as a warrior might–both Buffy and Luke closed their eyes to discover their power. The paradox of seeing while not seeing, and the idea of simplicity. I loved the drawings produced by this technique, the movement, the essential truth of the process.
There is something about the unembellished that I find much more inspiring than all the paint and gold leaf you can flash in front of me. A million years ago when I first went to Europe (actually, it was 1989) I traveled quickly through so many countries, five short weeks, the blur of time makes memory fuzzy. But I recall when I got to Greece: after regarding the gorgeous decadence of Italian art, the unembellished and sometimes broken forms of Greece allowed me to slow down, to appreciate what is underneath.
I wish I could be more minimalist in my writing. I crave slowness, and more silence.