Good manners can bring moments of stiffness, yet it’s a wise alternative to war. If nations could conduct themselves with the dignity of civil people who don’t like each other, certainly we would all be much better off.
And afterwards, even in surroundings that made one uneasy, one can still find memories of something that was fine or noble. The tea things on the table, the beautiful lush design of the chair, the attire of one who sits stiffly, all have a dignity and calm that bespeaks something wonderful and self-managing.
[Top of the post: A Woman in an Interior, by Aletha Kuschan, oil on panel]
Matisse sought to have the white of the paper be a source of light in his drawings. This little drawing of a still life is my reply to that. I tried to create the mirage of the table with flowers using as few lines as possible, to have light pouring over the objects. I wanted the lines to hold themselves up so that the flowers and the vase would not even need the table.
“Drawing is putting a line round an idea.” — Henri Matisse
[Top of the post: Small sketch of flowers in a vase, by Aletha Kuschan, ballpoint pen]
I’ve been staying in a small Southern town the last several days. In my room here I have a window with a quiet view of some shrubs and pine trees. A couple mornings when I woke early I’d take my tea beside the window as I planned the day’s activities. This drawing reminds me of that sort of meditative, planning session.
It’s good to live inside the spaces of such moments — to really savor them for their gentleness and the breathing space they offer. Sitting beside the window with its quietly lovely view I found myself confronted with a great many memories simultaneously as I was making plans. So it was a window with three views: the past, the present and the future.
[Top of the post: Woman leaning on her Hand, by Aletha Kuschan, graphite pencil]
“Why are we reading if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage and the possibility of meaningfulness, and will press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power?”
— Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
[Top of the post: Drawing of a Woman Reading, by Aletha Kuschan, graphite]
Will Rogers said, “The fellow that can only see a week ahead is always the popular fellow, for he is looking with the crowd. But the one that can see years ahead, he has a telescope but he can’t make anybody believe that he has it.”
(I think it’s time we took out our telescopes again.)
[Top of the post: Little Study of Clouds by Aletha Kuschan, oil pastel]
I copied my daughter’s drawing to try something out using her idea. I put her horse against a background of my choosing. After some time had passed, I couldn’t tell whether the drawing was hers or mine. Then she told me that “it’s yours.” “I don’t draw like that,” she said. And, indeed, she is right. You can upon closer inspection tell it’s my copy. It lacks the vigor of the original that it otherwise resembles.
I study everything. I have copied the old masters. And I also copy my kid’s drawings.
[Top of the post: author’s copy of her kid’s drawing, colored pencils]