One day I–I know this is crazy–I didn’t have my journal with me. And I was waiting in a line. And I was bored. Of course, my pocketbook did contain a bunch of old useless receipts and some markers. So, I found myself doodling this little design on top of one of those receipts. The paper is probably as toxic as all get out, but it does have a nice smooth feeling. And having only a small space to fill was oddly satisfying. And, of course, every picture, no matter how seemingly repetitive, that I do means that I am developing a little bit more strength in my hand, more personality in my line, more sense of possibility. So, what can you actually DO with litttle pieces like this? Many artists save small bits and pieces of work for collages. I do not know how to make a collage–yet. But I have a file for pieces of my own work. It might fit in somewhere perfectly. And if not, what have I lost? In a way, I like the fact that I can read through the drawing that I visited Barnes and Noble and had a cup of tea on a certain day. That too is part of my history. Maybe I’ll just glue it onto a page of my journal (as you can see in this picture, the receipt is lying on one page of my scandalous tomes), because it’s part of me. It’s part of a day I drank tea, and part of a day I was bored standing in line. It was a point in time when I was drawing circles. Maybe someday I won’t draw so many circles. Then maybe I’ll draw something else. And THAT will be part of my history, too. It reminds me: There’s really no reason to ever clean out your purse.
Writing Prompt: What do you do with little scraps in your life–of time, of material, of paper?
Lately I’ve been doing tons of pictures with circles in them. I have always liked drawing mandalas, but this is a different kind of process, rougher and quicker and using more colors. I wanted to try using different materials. First, I did a watercolor background. Then I added circles of greenish acrylic paint. On top of that, I practiced some different patterns that I am trying to make my own–and by my own, I mean that they come to my mind and hand instinctively. One of them is the spiral. Another is the wavy arrow border. There are also several kinds of flowerlike motifs and a sunburst. And dots. I used markers, gel pens, and maybe even a regular pen. I also bought a kind of white ink pen that you have to shake before you use it, I forget what it’s called, because I thought it was getting too dark. I am not sure that I’m done with it yet. That big green circle in the middle seems ripe for some kind of detail. But maybe not.
Writing Prompt: What are some motifs that you doodle?
In some ways, I am soooooooooo lazy. You just go ahead and ask my husband. But in other ways, I am incredibly diligent. Lookie here at what hard work I put into making this picture of tiny diamonds. I not only had fun coloring in boes with markers, but in devising little patterns to put into some of the boxes. I think they help to give the composition a little variety. I also left some spaces blank. You might have fun doing such a project yourself. I found it meditative, but it also helped me develop more small iconic images that come naturally to hand. I also got to see for myself color combinations that looked better than others. I want to develop my eye for what colors work together. It is interesting how different look next to each other. It was good compulsive fun, and a person could do this over and over (with regular grid paper, too), and still learn something and even make something kind of pleasing.
Writing Prompt: What is something you do compulsively?
One of my vows this year is to show not just pictures I’m really proud of, but ones that I am stumped by. I don’t really like what I’ve done here. The colors are too stark. They lack nuance. I think it looks primitive, but not in a good way. It’s all done with markers, which are not a perfect vehicle for art on their own. Still, I think the cure for what ails it can be found in doing something more to it. What that more is, I do not know. Yet. If and when the answer comes to me, I will show it to you. I do know that layering can add depth and dimension to pictures that seem hopeless at first. Let’s see if that happens with this baby.
Writing Prompt: Do you have some kind of project that hasn’t come together yet?
When you have a lot of important stuff to do, like putting dishes in the dishwasher, researching hideous diseases you might (probably) have, or writing down “Call Linoleum Guy about Thursday,” (because unfortunately the not-yet-researched disease is unlikely to do away with one BEFORE Thursday) sometimes you just gotta woman up, get out the markers, and go to town in your sketchbook. As you can see, Ms. AHH is using a number of classic thematic elements, such as the blue flowers common to Iznik pottery (I should know what they are called), mandalas, eyes, snakes (love drawing snakes), pyramids, suns, dots, bricks with what looks like a creepy pair of eyes in them, dots, stripes, teardrops and raindrops, xs and os, what looks like a game of tic tac toe kind of, and many other things that add up to um, a battle between the Apollonian and the Dionysian elements of life? Yes, indeed, I’m sure that’s exactly what it means, and I’m the artist, so I should know. But actually, art is not for the artist alone. It is a dance between the artist and viewer/critic. Writers can blab everything they want about their art, their horrible childhoods and everything else. But the artist must remain mute, or at least cryptic, and let the dance of interpretation begin. For the moment one puts one’s art out into the world, it belongs to the world, too. Especially when one puts it on the freaking INTERNET. So, friends, interpret away.
Writing Prompt: What’s a piece of art that just pulls you in?