Whatever More

Aaaaand here’s another batch of these unholy trees or rocks or candies or whatever they are.

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After months of what seemed like a hopeless, Pyrrhic war with depression and anxiety, I snapped completely out of it yesterday and I can’t explain why. Nothing had changed in my life in any positive way – I just wasn’t under water anymore. I could breathe again.

The only thing of note that actually happened yesterday was that my seasonal allergies finally kicked in. That’s hardly a trigger for positive, upward motion is it?

And yet there it is, and here I am.

It’s like having spent months locked in the darkest, hottest, most boring room you can imagine; and then *boot*, you’re outdoors in the breeze again with the world moving like a carnival around you.

A jug of cold water instead of warm vinegar. A skull made of open windows and not smoked iron.

Today I’m left scratching my head, wondering what happened.

 

In the hour of it happening, my mind was once again flooded with all the projects I wanted to get back to, and a sort of second-chance kind of gratitude that I could now remember what it was like to be a person again.

It’s frustrating in that whilst in that state of depression, you can’t even comprehend happiness, joy, or anything beyond the oven-like intensity of it. Now that I’m out again (at least for a day) I can see horizons I’d forgotten existed.

I’m inspired again. My blindfolds are shed and ankles cut loose from the church-bell that I left somewhere under the waves.

I’m not one to look gift horses in the mouth, so I’ve been busy all day and night making plans, smelling roses, and sighing heavy sighs of relief. Like a fugitive, I’ve been running to put distance between myself and whatever wants to throw me back in.

 

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Meanwhile, my sketchbooks continue to fill up with this tree-like nonsense.

I’ll keep this journal of mine updated as plans and art continue to pour out. In the mean-time, I’m looking forward to whatever day I find tomorrow.

Yin-Yang

The other night I dreamt I was on a moon that orbited not the planet, but the lake near my house. I could see everything from up there, but I myself could not be seen or heard – except in notes I made from paper airplanes. They had to be thrown hard enough to curve along the surface of the moon two or three times in full orbit to make escape velocity.

From there, who knows where they landed.

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Here’s another exploration of organic shapes, lines, and colour. This time lighter balances against darker – not as intrinsic elements, but as shades of the same thing.

 

Wooden

Three pencils, a blank sheet of paper; my hands and mind. This is what comes about in the span of a pot of coffee.

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It kind of feels like exploration – which is good for me. I’ve often felt quite bound to material subjects when I paint; trying to capture a likeness to something already known. This isn’t that.

Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Sketchdrop: More or Less

I’m still exploring the organic, maze-like surfaces of trees – and in the process I’ve gone further in the direction of abstraction.

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In one case, I tried turning stumps into moons. There was something about the way the knots and layers of bark were coming together that reminded me of craters.

Some of these drawings were done in a group setting with friends. Others done while swilling coffee at the neighbourhood diner.

Oh, and here’s a bonus drawing of Rodin’s great sculpture in red pencil. As perhaps my last post might explain, I’ve been lost in thought, and this seemed – at the time – to be the best way to express heat and the muscular struggle and weight of thought without actually admitting anything.

I’ve really got to stop being so oblique. It’s one of my most frustrating qualities.

The collection of these grows steadily, and again, I find myself with the material for a legitimate show in the works. Once I have a venue, I’ll put them on display and make them available for sale.

Vancouver Island from Willingdon Beach

If the title and the image don’t speak for themselves on this one, I don’t think I can help you. That said, this is a blog – not twitter or instagram, so I feel compelled to put in a paragraph or two.

What do I have to say for myself?

Beach

I’m not feeling very well these days. I have to admit, though I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my life, these last few months have been much heavier and harder than I’m used to.

At first I thought it was the Winter, but that’s well over – and though my employment hasn’t been steady lately, I’ve managed to make it through this year so far. That said, each month feels like a gamble now – and I’m getting used to living with less and less.

I don’t like that I’m getting used to it.

I’d fight battles and win them, but now they’re coming up as draws; and though battles are being won, I think I’m losing the war here. It’s dawning on me now that I’ve spent so many of my years fighting  that I’ve missed out on a great many other things in life while I was busy surviving behind a shield.

Today I think I won something. I woke up at the bottom of the ocean, but I stood up and went out into the sunlit forest, down through the trails to the beach and came back with the above drawing.

I’ve also admitted all of this in public air; which feels shameful even as I write it. It’s still a win.

What perhaps were funny quirks in my twenties are now threatening to strangle me right out in my thirties. I don’t know how help is sought, but I’m working myself up to seek it out now. Meanwhile, I’ll keep drawing, painting, writing, and trying to make an honest dollar out of all of it somehow.

Next time I won’t be so maudlin. Unless I am; but if I am, I’m going to make art out of it.

How?

There are a great many metaphors and images that I’ve collected over time in attempts to describe what this feels like. I’ve thought about drawing them one by one until I have enough to fill a book.

Meanwhile, though, I’ve got this island mountainscape. It took the scorch out of my brain for a couple of hours to draw it, and soon, I’ll return to bigger, more elaborate works.

 

 

Sketchdrop: More Trees

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Trees and tree-bark continue to interest me, but I haven’t been trying to draw them directly since moving to colored pencil. Most of these had been drawn indoors somewhere, and often at night.

They’ve been an intuitive exercise in rendering without reference.

Stumps are a simple volume to fill, basically; a solid, three-dimensional object with a textured surface. They’re just big jagged cylinders made up of organic forms: rings, scales, chunks, grain, and fiber; all with an organic language of its own. I enjoy both the free imitation and rejection of its grammar while I draw.

It’s fun and produces interesting results. I’m considering putting a show together out of them, or selling them privately. Contact me if you’re interested.

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Sketchdrop: Trees

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With the weather growing ever less garbagesome, I’ve been taking my sketchbooks with me on adventures into the forest and up the side of cliffs; also to cafes, diners, and spontaneous drawing clubs in basements (the first and second rules forbid me from elaborating. Sorry).

I’ve been drawing trees a lot lately, and the more I draw them, the more I find myself getting lost in fabricating three-dimensional bodies with a flow of lines. What started with fairly ordinary landscapes in pencil went into outer-space once I stepped away from trying to represent a true object and instead started playing with its visual DNA.

Pencil crayons are mama-hecking fun, too.

Some of my friends and neighbours are fallers (lumberjacks if you’re not from around here). Regardless of how abstract the stumps were, they’d look at it and see only a bad cut. From the moment I opened the page to get their opinion, out would come a chorus of “Aww, that’s a terrible stump” from anyone who’s looked at a chainsaw twice.

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“What!?”

“Well, any BC boy ought to know a good undercut.”

Fair point, I suppose, but I didn’t realize I’d be graded on my saw-craft of purely theoretical stumps.

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