I have no idea what this is. Opened the notebook, flipped through the pages, and there it was. However, what it was has not survived translation. Nonetheless, I find that I like it. And so I share it with you.
When you draw a lot, sometimes it doesn’t matter what the subject is. All the things that attract your attention all filter through your brain and some element of the attraction is diffuse. You sometimes end up remaking all the various subjects through the longings of your own personality, and to an extent all the motifs are really just one motif. So it does not surprise me that this “what’s-it” looks a little like the vase of flowers, but also looks somewhat like the koi.
The details of flower still lifes have some of that vertical presence.
And some koi drawings feature bits of blobby yellow, red and orange patches floating among streaks of blue.
So perhaps the drawing at the top is a Vase of Koi Flowers — or it is Daffodils Swimming in a Pond?
It’s hot outside! How nice to dive into the koi pond, deep into that cool blue pool.
A blue pencil taken up in hand, examined, applied to the page — its blue alone is something to cool you off. Gazing upon the blue colors, even far from water, even without swimming, the blue that can as easily be a sky as a pond — that blue will take you wherever you need to go. It is worth the journey. The journey into blue.
Orange fish make themselves the opposite of this blue and dash it up with their contrariness. Some thoughts come like splashing — they just arrive boldly. There they are. Like fish who came from unknown depths — for just this moment now — to come into a present into which they belong.
When life is right and things are good. And when there’s a pond of blue on a hot day …
Here is the same vase of flowers of my many nocturnal and diurnal repetitions, drawn larger this time, 18 x 24 inches, in pencil. Each time I draw this motif I notice something different about it, and by the motif I refer to the entire scene. I have spent so much attention on the flowers — because in a picture with a vase of flowers you almost have to — and yet I’m not sure if it isn’t really the cloth behind the vase, the patterns on the cloth and the two other objects, the creamer and the rice bowl that interest me more than the flowers.
Indeed, I think what interests me most when I look at the still life itself is some quality about the whole, particularly the way light crosses all the objects. When you redraw something over and over, you are in a process of discovering what it is. I am not really interested in these objects as much as I am intrigued by gravity weighing down the cloth and light moving through the space. And I haven’t captured either of those qualities yet. So though I’ve drawn it a lot, its substance has still eluded me.
“Il faut refaire la meme choses dix fois cents fois,” as Degas said: You must redraw the same thing ten times, a hundred times. Or as a Spanish friend translates for me, “Necesitas re-dibujar la misma cosa diez veces, cien veces.” Italian anyone?