Evolution of a Drawing

I stared at the middle of the torso for a good long time last night. I even tried putting the headphones on to drown out Gilmore Girls (girlchild) and meditated (while standing, while staring at the drawing). Honestly, I haven’t meditated in a while and I need to get back in the practice of it, as the stress levels of this week are reminding me. When the session was done, I was staring at tree pictures. I googled Trees of the World. Baobab came up, but I thought it was something else, and that wasn’t what I wanted, so then googled Trees Africa and got the Acacia (oh YEAH, that one)…and I drew three of them. And then I googled Elephant because for some reason, I wanted to do an elephant. I’ve never put an elephant in a quilt. Now seemed the right time. In the end, three of them appeared…

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Because they travel in groups, in families. Three acacia trees as well…do they travel in families? Then I had this blank spot to the right to fill in the left hip. More staring. Lots of staring. I think the girlchild had gone to bed by then and I was on Walking Dead. Not that either show is particularly helpful in the drawing process. But I finally decided, after trying to put a dog in there about 15 times and being stymied by how to make it fit in the space without being cartoonish, because nothing else in this was particularly so, that a plant should go there…trying to balance plants and animals in the torso. And I thought a fruit tree would be good, because…well…because I can add colors besides brown and green. I started considering how this will actually LOOK, colored in, and my brain freaked out.

So I drew an apple tree…

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And here’s one of the core problems with enlarging a drawing and then continuing to draw on it…I draw too much detail when it’s not enlarged. OK, I draw the same amount of detail…it’s just fucking SMALL. So that tree is kind of crazy for the amount of space it’s taking. But whatever. I could have just drawn leaves with no stems. Or not. My brain said not. I did want to draw lots more elephant wrinkles and I forced myself to stop. I told myself that the Essence of Elephant was all that mattered, that everyone would know it was a fucking elephant without all the wrinkles. But someone will ask me “why elephants?” Remind me to say, “because they travel in groups and have families and mourn their dead and attack lions and are just generally kick-ass animals.” Better yet, just say it for me, because I might not be there.

The next problem was that I couldn’t tell from a drawing that covers my light table whether it read OK as a whole, because I couldn’t see the whole damn thing. So I dropped it on the floor and stood on the piano bench to see…

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Interesting movement here. I did have an issue with the big wide open space at the bottom left. It was bugging me. So I added trees.

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They’re not huge, but they move the eye back up towards the lightning bolt, so you don’t fall off the page. I just realized that this morning.

At that point it was midnight. Let’s go back in our heroine’s story, where we always tell her that she doesn’t get enough sleep and she should stop working an hour before she’s ready, because sleep is healthy and she has eyeball dissections today and a field trip Friday and those two things are enough to kick her ass with a normal amount of sleep.

What’s normal for me though? No sleep. You got it. I wanted to know how many fucking pieces I would be dealing with here. I didn’t want to wait around for that information, because it would have been Friday night before I knew, and that’s unbearable. So I numbered…

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Goddamned tiny tree. I numbered for 59 minutes. Wanna take bets on numbers? C’mon. Think a number in your head. I did this on the last quilt and only one person was close.

There are 891 pieces. Actually, one piece got numbered twice, but inevitably there will be a piece I missed, so let’s just call it 891.

You know, that’s not so bad. But I thought I had 5 1/2 months and I don’t…I can’t count. It has to be photographed by June 15. Four and a half months…four if I make sure there’s photography time. Plus two other small quilts that need doing in the same time period. Uh huh. I can do it. No problem. The last big quilt had 768 pieces and took 80 hours and I (crazily) finished it in 6 weeks. So I think I can pull this off.

So I have now conquered the problem of a non-nude, non-political, non-violent quilt…well, except I have to make it and then the juror has to pick it. Minor issue. And I’ll be pissed if it gets into tons of shows while my other more controversial pieces languish in the closet. So I guess not sleeping is mostly worth it. I seem to be able to harness the creative beast. I mean, we did have soccer last night too…

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Yes, she is actually heading the ball…

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I sewed through all of it. I was too done with school to do any grading. And then I came home and made dinner while listening to the girlchild read her history textbook to me (this is how she learns…I understand…I do that too)…and then I roused myself off the couch for the drawing part, starting around 8 PM. You know, when I should have been thinking of going to bed soon. Silly brain. But that’s how I get it done.

3 thoughts on “Evolution of a Drawing

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