It’s a fine Sunday, breezy and overcast; not bad qualities for a lazy morning at a window-side desk.
A long time ago I used to use crow quill dip pens for drawing and lettering. Though it can be a chore keeping those nibs clean enough to flow nicely, their character cannot be matched by the modern ink-filled pens that strive to emulate the look. It is, in part, the tension between the sharp metal and the paper that makes it unmistakable.
This little monochrome sketch has aways touched me. It somehow reminds me of Tove Jansson’s Fillyjonk character. I’ve been posting forgotten things from old sketchbooks on IG; follow me @edaggarart to see more.
I think the original title of this was A sick thing upon the rocks in the very early morning. It’s from when I was a teenager in college. (I think the sketch that precipitated this ink drawing originated during an acid trip; that coming down feeling—)
As I see it now, looking through the archive, it looks to me like a personification of the tail end of winter. Fighting in vain against the sun; unwilling to exit stage left; refusing to retreat for its Persephone months—
Those during which she must return to where she’d been abducted. By absent-mindedly eating the pomegranate seeds proffered by Hades, she doomed herself to a third the year in the underworld, thereby depriving the surface of the world of green things growing during her absence.
That is Winter, which doesn’t like to take its leave quietly, gracefully.
. . .
(TBH, the way I wrote the title of this post reminds me of nothing so much as the GOP, but that’s a different sort of post altogether.)
Here’s a scrap from one of my journals of youth. A page written when I was twenty-one, and newly out of college— my first summer spent in Brooklyn, as I’d always gone back to the farm in between the school years. Few of my schoolmates were in town that summer. I was broke, looking for work, renting a furnished room in a sublet with two roommates who were rarely at home. It was a lonely summer. (It was when I first began taking long solitary wanders in this town.)
I can see that I’ve apparently always had a penchant to write in all caps (when not too hurried), and a flair for flowery or not very day-to-day wording, though over the years it has seeped into my speech. When they say write the way you speak, I wound up doing it the other way round, haha.
Anyway, as I shall be back at the farm in less then 48 hours, a little homesick nostalgia seemed a timely do-dad to pull from the archives for this Winter Solstice post.
Here is a painting from a small series I did back in 2007. (It’s hard to believe that was a decade ago!) This is Amsterdam II, and it has been sold! Its new home will be in California, and I’m very excited for its new adventure.
Though I love having my art in my own home, it’s really meant to go out into the world and be enjoyed by others, so I’m super happy that someone loved it enough to buy it. And in this case, he gets the bonus of an original hand-crafted Mad Framer floating frame in the deal.
Once again I missed my Thursday post. I was at work late. We were shooting a little set up of cut paper buildings for a campaign, and they reminded me of this illustration I did for a holiday card a few years ago, which has sort of the look of cut paper.
Below is a close up (in black and white) of part of the scene we shot last night. One of my co-workers and I spent the batter part of two days cutting and assembling the layered structures.
There is a room full of young women lounging in or at the edges of inviting pools of water. The room has an otherworldly atmosphere, with dim, colored lighting and biomorphic curves in the walls and ceilings. It feels, looks like a grotto; like some ethereal rendering of a subterranean brothel. On low ledges all around there are sleek bowls containing delicate and beautiful shapes that look at first inspection as if they are made of glass, but they feel gelatinous. There’s liquid or water in the bowls. The shapes float like jellyfish.
They are ornamented in impossibly-detailed patterns. I ask one of the women what they are, pointing to one near her; bell-shaped, and small. She informs me that this particular model is for cutting off one’s arm. I ask “Why on earth would anyone want to do that?” She doesn’t answer, but nearby I suddenly notice a bowl of fingers, small and red; transforming the liquid like ink blooming in water.
Insistent with my inquiry, I ask her how such a thing could possibly cut through an arm, or anything at all, as I lift one of the instruments out of a bowl and display its gelatinous quality, how soft and malleable. It has only enough density to hold its intended shape. This seems to interest her, and she looks at the object as I hold it, but doesn’t answer this either. I wonder if there’s some quality about the material of which I’m unaware— if sudden pressure is applied, perhaps it becomes more rigid, like quicksand, but maybe fine or sharp.
It remained a mystery, as did the nature or reason for the room itself, the girls, and the the other instruments. It struck me that some of the glass tools looked vaguely like those long-ago diminutive shoes for the footbound.