Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ashes to ashes continued ...

As I was sayin', the goat's remains fade into the land, become the landscape. And they leave their mark over time...
The tents in the second drawing arose sort of spontaneously – I recognize them as the wedding tents of my friends Dante and Zivile, who married last summer after spending separate nights on the mountain in preparation for their union – pitched over the carcasses of all the mountain goats residing beneath the surface of our physical world.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ashes to ashes

In the Burren (County Clare on the south shore of Galway Bay): One day last week I was walking up on the hillside behind the college. Martin’s sheepdog was with me and we cut up the old nature trail. A ways in and off to the right I found a goat carcass, partially decomposed (Martin’s sheepdog found this very interesting). It was lying on its back in a hollowed out part of the hill under a hazel wood tree. The place was soft with moss and sheltered from the wind and I thought if it was me, I too would want to lie down here to die. I crawled in and made a couple of quick drawings, one at top. Later in the week I began making other drawings, remembering and feeling what it was like to be there. The flesh and bones in my pictures began to melt into and become the landscape, the layered, rocky limestone dusted with soil and grass. Which is pretty much exactly what will happen up there.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Jeffrey the cat

I’ve been home for a few days I confess and suffering from some extreme jet lag and also working a lot...
This drawing I made at my friend Una’s house on Aughinish Island (Kinvara, County Galway) is a good place for me to start back up again. It’s a good place for me to begin recording memories and drawings from an inspiring couple of weeks in the west of Ireland.
I spent a day with Una at her old old cottage. In the morning we walked the stony seashore and fields with dogs – there are always dogs – and visited the ‘Shelter’, an art installation there near the old burial ground for unbaptized children. It was created by my friend and teacher Aine Phillips; I think there are one or two others in the country, safe places for children buried far far away from church ground and sentenced to limbo for eternity... It’s horrifying how much power the church wielded over the Irish and how much heartache they inflicted in the process. I understand that the pope has recently done away with limbo... it was that simple.
Well, Una is a bookmaker. She helped me make a beautiful sketchbook, bound with ribbons and handmade paper. I am making another, and another, as I write this. All my friends will be receiving handmade books. Tra-la.
Then we made brown bread with her mom’s recipe. I copied it onto a drawing in my sketchbook and vow to make it every other day at home... luscious.
In the afternoon I took a rest on the sofa by the fire with Jeffrey, left.
Later on we ended up at Greene’s, our old haunt in Ballyvaughan, for pints of Carlsberg. Sitting in front of the peat fire on a cold February night, talking about opportunity, karma and existence. Have I ever been as happy as that?

I’ve brought back lots of drawings and experiences. I remember how simple life can be, and how joyful, and how people-filled.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


It must be the mood I'm in. These atmospheric drawings come easily sometimes.
I'll be away in Ireland for the next couple of weeks; I don't know what kind of internet access I'll have so I won't promise to update daily. Probably I'll save the drawings for when I get home. The west of Ireland is rich in drawing possibilities: the rocky landscape of the Burren, the stony coastline, the wintry skies. Heaven.
So, as my Dad said when speaking about his own death, 'Soy-an-ar-a' for now.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Today this is my favorite drawing

I don't always post my most favorite drawing. It's often not the best drawing. If I like one too much I am suspicious. And lately I've been having that ole "what is beauty anyway?" argument in my head. An artist struggles to make art that has meaning; often for me meaning can preclude beauty. And then of course no one wants to hang the work in their dining room... horrors.
This drawing seems to cover all the bases for me, today anyway. I like how floaty and light it is. And I like the mystery of it. At the same time, I find it difficult to put words to it.

Monday, February 5, 2007

What lies beneath

I may have said this before, it comes up a lot when I draw... layering, thoughts and memories overlap- ping, surfacing for a time, blotting out one another, combining and redefining themselves. Sometimes being forgotten for years on end. It's what I think my subconscious landscape must look like. Sort of busy when disturbed, until the water settles again.
Who said "a thought should be like a bird flying through the sky, leaving no trace"?

Sunday, February 4, 2007


I see that my writing has been totally reactive to the drawings I've been posting... that's not what I intended (which is to write and draw about whatever I'm pondering – whatever's important – during a day). Who needs a literary description of a drawing that is the visual discription of an idea??? Awp!
So, later in the week I'll be signing off for a couple of weeks while I travel in Ireland. When I come back (with lots of cool drawings I hope) I'll really try to make sure I'm thinking more deeply about drawing. If I'm going to do this, I want it to have more value to me and to anyone who might stumble across it. CIAO.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Drawing from my sketchbook

Okay, the "Plunge" was way cold, mind-numbingly cold. It was the herd mentality that carried us along into the ocean this afternoon. But there was great energy, camaraderie, pints of Smithwick's after and 7,000 people raised almost $750,000 for Special Olympics.
So, here's a drawing from my sketchbook. My friend Dave lent me Philip Kapleau's 'Three Pillars of Zen.' I've been thinking about it a lot and making a few notes.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Anything can be animated

I think this piece is about animation, the elements almost begging to be bounced off one another, combined, altered, destroyed and reborn. Filament, fog, blurring, focusing, attracting and repelling.
The animation thing is worth pursuing for sure, I've been collecting segments in the last couple of months, waiting for that big idea... Time to move on with the moving images. Looking for a story to tell.
I'm a bit distracted tonight. Tomorrow we are doing the "Polar Plunge" out at the Oceanfront to benefit Special Olympics. Yikes. The water should be a balmy 40°F. I think I can't wait for it to be over.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

'I'm nobody, who are you?'

I'm taking yesterday's simplicity lesson to heart. I love this sort of tension set up between two objects. Confrontation... with myself? Or with my other self? Or with you?
I spent the rest of the day erasing the big drawing and sanding the paper. It's all process. It's all good.