Archive for April, 2017

A Legacy

April 17, 2017

I have not posted a blog in a long time. There are matters I want to write about, but nothing I can share. I have not been entirely okay. The irony is that none of my current troubles have to do with Trump, or my mother, which is what people assume to be the case. Both, of course, are black clouds and a constant source of anxiety and sadness. Trump is even worse than the monster my imagination could have conjured, and my mother is ever so slowly losing her identity in small degrees. Still they can’t be blamed for what is wrong with me. I do not want to add to the noise, the opinions, the articles, photographs, sound bites, images, news regarding Trump.There is nothing to say about my mother.

So, this.

One of my favorite episodes of Little House on the Prairie (don’t judge). . .the one with Michael Landon as Charles (Pa), was when he was feeling, after the sudden death of a friend, like his life was passing by and he would not leave a legacy. He worried that when he died he would be forgotten entirely.

A present-day (1982) couple buy an antique, folding-leaf table with a large “I” branded on it at an auction and are curious to learn about its origins. The story focuses on Charles’ efforts to patent the table and have it mass produced. However, a ruthless businessman is successful in a bid to steal the patent and snare an ill-gotten profit, forcing Charles to realize that his family, and not the tables, are his greatest legacy. Back to the auction. The bidding is furious and competitive. This piece of furniture is obviously a treasure. It is sold for a large sum of money unimaginable to Pa. The buyers are thrilled and at the end you see them lovingly loading it on to their truck to bring home.

Does everyone, every creative person worry about their legacy or lack thereof? I would not say it is a worry of mine, but I do feel kind of sad that after decades of making small drawings most will probably disappear to, recycle? Landfill in Johnston, RI? I don’t know.

I think of Eva Hesse and Francesca Woodman, Christina Ramberg. All artists who died so young, but had such strong voices that they are still exhibited, discussed. Relevant.

I am a late bloomer. I did some good work when I was young but it took me decades to develop a consistent artistic voice. And it is quiet.

I am going through an especially quiet phase. I have dropped more and more color until there is just the color of pencil lead. There are all the shades of grey, and pencils that come in black and gold and silver.

I started using pencils with gouache and ink, and then more pencil and less gouache and ink, and then, all pencil. Pencils will be here as long as I am here. I feel secure in my love for them. They won’t leave me like me favorite pens have.

Ink has a darkness, a hardness and permanence to it. The way I use pencil is soft. I could press harder, but I don’t. These drawings are flat and kind of grey, like an overcast sky.

One day I will disappear, unnoticed. Maybe that is not so bad. Maybe it’s okay to come and go and do no harm. And leave behind some good work.