Friday, September 22, 2006

End of packet two. I am drawing the shells. The subtle shift of light siennas to purples seduces me to a sentimental place and I am prescious with the labor I have claimed, and I lash out against the beauty and look for something else... I use unforgiving blacks and then cover everything with white and reclaim the siennas.. Wrestling with rendering and deciding to allow arbitrary perspective, then regrouping in a feint of composition... habit.. ego. What is a good drawing? I started my drawing class by asking that question. And now I have more questions, What makes a drawing good? Does that question have any meaning? Does the answer have any value? My studio practice is driven, in part, by the assumption that the inquiry and or product will have value, that it will demonstate the course outcomes for the degree that will somehow help me sustain a job that I question every day. Do my drawings have to be good? How is the inquiry measured? I am in the shell game, the metaphor I have chosen for seeking a degree. It is a metaphor of power, persuasion, seduction, belief... my relationship to the process changes. I am in suspense, disbelief, I have found new areas of anxiety, new levels of confusion. Drain my blood, do the MRI's... tell me what you find. I need to know something that I can point to and say this is this. This is a knowable thing. One of my students from last year came in to empty his locker. I was so glad to see him. HE is a lovely gentleman. I think I love him in some way that eludes my knowing, and when he didn't return this fall, I asked about him. And here. Here he is, showing me some drawing books of Shiele .. Klimpt... As we talked I saw the taped broviac catheter in his right shoulder and the bulge in his abdomen. He was just up from surgery for esophageal cancer. He hadn't set up his radiation yet, and wanted to clean out his locker. An accountant who, after retiring wanted to learn to draw, to paint and had been working hard at it ever since. A gentle man with a love for new experience, dancing, and now here he is, tying up the loose ends. He does not want to inconvenience any one with his new journey. I ask him to come and paint in my class. He tells me he has dropped the courses he signed up for. Zero sum game. Some thing accountants live, I guess. I want to write everything I know, remember, feel for this man... Is it way of re-entering, preserving the gentle gift he gave me every day in class? it is in the end a selfish act for me... to create a way to remember ? His options are limited. Inoperable. Radiation, chemotherapy, pain, drugs... I want to sit and hold his hand. I have a terrible thing of experiencing loss as soon as I hear .. my grieving begins at the edge of asking, Where is John?... He came to say good bye. I do not accept that. But I may have to enter it anyway.


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