Wednesday, 19 February 2014
little leather shoes
The third in the trio of intended drawings written of recently may well be the most difficult to realise, although I have distinct qualms about all three. Successful in the search for the child's skipping rope, my partner and I eagerly comb the internet for a pair of child's vintage shoes, hopefully to fit a child of about six or seven, thus being contemporaneous with the blue mittens. Two pairs appear in an online auction, a pair of small brown school shoes with a buckle fastening, dating from the 1950's, and a more recent pair, also fastened with buckles, that looks to be unworn, and, as the shoes date from a later period than the school shoes, and are a little larger, seems better suited to my purpose. The school shoes eventually sell for more money than I can raise, and there are several bids, but the other pair remains unclaimed, and our modest bid secures it. Once more, I wait excitedly for the delivery of a parcel, and unwrap the little shoes on their arrival with a flutter of anticipation.
They shine with the glow of new leather, and are fashioned from three differently coloured pieces of hide; a warm olive brown, a rich cherry red, and a deep forest green, a silvery buckle securing the strap passing over the instep. I am as entranced by them as I am by the blue mittens and the red handled skipping rope, and they take their place alongside these others in the back bedroom, where I gaze upon them each day, contemplating the means and methods by which I may make the attempt of drawing them.
I am aware of a pleasurable quiver of nervousness, quite unlike the storm of anxiety which has hitherto held dominion whenever I have thought about making drawings, effectively preventing me from touching pencil to paper. Perhaps I am beginning to emerge from Dante's "forest dark", in a manner completely unexpected and surprising, although I have yet to brace myself for the encounter between self and materials. I had supposed that making a return to the drawing of cloud formations would mark my emergence from the darkness, and was thus wholly unprepared for the appearence in my mind of the drawings of the blue mittens, the redhandled rope and the little leather shoes.
Their presence in my thoughts serves both as a motivating force, and a comforting reassurance. I can visit them whenever I wish, although I must take good care not to outstay my welcome, they cannot be wrested from me, they have embedded themselves in my imagination as surely as a fertilized egg inserts itself into the lining of the womb. I am grateful for their coming, now sure of their remaining, and wonder at the process by which they have assumed such vitality; it is as though I had had no part in it. Having cudgelled myself into determining that my first move after several painful years of abstinence would be the execution of a drawing of clouds, I find instead that a mysterious area of my consciousness has been at work upon an entirely different idea, and that, after many months of studying cloudscapes and formations with a view to drawing them, and the gradual purchasing of a suite of 'cloud pencils', the "straightforward path" perhaps lies in another direction. It would seem that one cannot will the way ahead, or hold sway over one's intent.
I do, however, have a choice; I can choose to embark upon the journey of birthing the drawings, immersing myself in the perilous endeavour of attempting to give corporeal shape to my visions, or I may hold fast to the double edged pleasure to be found in unrealised potential, protect myself from the possibility of failure, keep the nascent works safe as cerebral companions. I am, though, conscious of a not unpleasant urgency, a return of the need to communicate, to articulate pressing concerns, the desire to engage with familiar and well loved tools in an attempt to realise an idea in material terms.