Monday, May 11, 2009
Having Lunch with the Masters
As I turn 60 I'm taking some time to reminisce and reflect on the early days of building a foundation as a visual artist.
During five years in relative seclusion, living simply and going 'back to the land' my days were absorbed in a rhythm of study. I'd bring home arm loads of art books from Domonkas Library. Mr. Domonkas had donated his extensive collection of books on travel, culture and art to the library bearing his name. It was magnificent, and a saving grace, to have access to a wide and diverse selection of tomes similar to a university or museum collection in both depth and scope.
Back at the cottage I invested countless solitary hours pouring over the works of the master artists and drawing, drawing, drawing.
Having little in the way of funds I became very creative in terms of materials and media. I used charcoal from the wood stove and I'd walk to the tiny grocery a few blocks from the cottage to purchase a roll of freezer wrap paper. I'd cut lengths along the serrated edge of the box and weigh the paper pieces down to relax the 'roll'. I loved the smooth waxed underside of the paper which offered a fresh and unfamiliar feel to each piece.
Creating dozens of daily drawings 'copied' from memory by utilizing the illustrations of art masterpieces in library books worked better than any drug I'd ever taken in terms of its positive addictive quality. I couldn't wait to wake up each morning, burning the drawings from the day before to start the wood stove, which also taught me not to get attached to out comes, while readying to dive back into the books, everyday coming back for more.