grown ups are like that....

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ekphrasis IV: The Artist's Studio

“You have something pent up inside.  You are frustrated.  You need to create.”

For a crazy moment I think she is a bit drunk and has lost all sense of who she is talking to. But I look in her eyes and she is serious, her beer nowhere near empty. I feel shaken, like a fortune teller has just read my cards and showed me Death.  But an educated querant knows that the death card only means change, not demise, so I take a deep breath and say, “Yes.”

We go to her art studio after the beer is gone.  One by one we switch on the lights to reveal nude figure drawings on every wall.  

There is a static buzzing in my brain, yet I can’t figure out where this electricity is coming from. Why does it feel like a heated spark is bouncing around inside of my skull?  I realize, crazily, that the nudes are conduits of energy, and I’m picking up a charge just being near them.  I want to feel this power all the time.  I suddenly decide I will go to art school and  immerse myself in charcoal and pencils and pastels.  But do I want to be an artist playing with shadow and light or do I want to be the nude figure, face turned to the wall, pubic hair and nipple boldly exposed? When the static calms I realize that I want neither.

 Vitruvian Man Leonardo DaVinci

We talk of discipline and education in art, of how if we want to challenge convention we first have to learn the rules.  This makes me think of my writing, and I fight back hot tears (am I sad? tired? inspired?) and hate myself for being such a crier, a personal trait that annoys me and so many others.  Keep it together, keep it together, I chant in my brain. I focus on the objects in her studio in order to calm down. They are so simple and perfect and loved. A poem in 3D. I take stock of what I see.

1. Yellow and brown paper coffee cup.
2. Rubber band, fat.  The kind that holds your broccoli stalks together.
3. Bottle of German mineral water: Gerolsteiner.
4. Pencils of all sizes. 
5. Charcoal. 
6. Stoneware mustard bottle holding paint brushes of various size, bristles up.
7. Two saints candles.
8. Reclined nude pencil drawing.  Her legs are up the wall, head and arms resting on an oversized pillow.
9. Hoosier cabinet:  light sage green with enamel-top work surface.
10. Lemon juicer:  ceramic, white and blue.
 Time to go. Walking into the cold air feels good and sobering though I've had nothing at all to drink. I'm ready to create now, give birth to what she saw pent up inside me.  I say a little prayer to the cold stars thanking them for this night.

Winter, 2012