Years ago, I wrote that seekers of all stripes—journalists, philosophers, scientists, mystics—are chasing the same elusive thing: something like truth, understanding, a fully integrated perspective, awakeness, untangling. We just ask questions in different contexts, modalities, and microcosms.
Three weeks ago, I had an intimate and frenzied encounter with a wild bobcat as it was chasing my chickens. We locked eyes for a moment, and I quickly glanced down at its large, impressive paws. Tawny, speckled fur contrasted starkly with razor-sharp black claws. It ran off to the edge of the woods, first stopping to glance back at me before disappearing into the thicket. I began to think of a series of intaglio prints that would capture the essence of this feral fury.
“The painter wanders and loiters contentedly from place to place, always on the lookout for some brilliant butterfly of a picture which can be caught and set up and carried safely home.”
– Winston Churchill, 1948, Painting as a Pastime
Where do your shapes come from? This is a common question I encounter.
I dislodge shapes stored in my body through the act of drawing. These shapes originate from a vast matrix of experiences. There are typically three categories of overt reference: art and archeological objects I seek out through research and travel; landscape; and direct physical experiences (floating on a lake, running in the woods, dance, aging, sex).
“I realized these were all the snapshots which our children would look at someday with wonder, thinking their parents had lived smooth, well-ordered lives and got up in the morning to walk proudly on the sidewalks of life, never dreaming the raggedy madness and riot of our actual lives, our actual night, the hell of it, the senseless emptiness.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road