Metaphors and Anthropomorphism

You might have noticed I draw on large pieces of paper.

Recently I spent a considerable amount of time looking at a selection of “rejected” drawings. Having decided that in some way they didn’t work, I was looking closely to see if any sections could be redeemed. Could they be saved by an edit. A couple did. A slice was taken off an edge and suddenly the composition worked. Other drawings, deemed too busy, were unceremoniously chopped into six inch (15cm) tiles. Again, suddenly they work. The slice takes away the bad, concentrates on the good (and actually, a slice of the bad can work too, taken away from the rest that it is adversely affecting). The slice, the sharp cut, implies it is part of an imagined whole: the imagined whole being much more satisfactory. So I now have a pile of tiles, that look great individually or in groups.

The internal discussion then is: Why am I wrestling with enormous pieces of paper when the small square is so satisfactory?

There’s something about working on a detail on a large piece of paper. It feels like a secret between me and the materials. The viewer will only be rewarded with this little gem if they come up close and get personal. The tiles are the microscope slides. You are up close right from the start, and there’s nothing more to see. The detail in a large drawing is like seeing the whole landscape, then noticing a rare plant under a dry stone wall… right under your nose! How come you didn’t notice it before?

In terms of the metaphor, this is buried treasure. It’s only when you really get to know someone you notice the small and beautiful things about their bodies and their minds…

The curve of a spine, the curl of their hair, how their fingers move as they play an instrument or paint, or tend the garden, slice an apple, or stroke the cat.

It’s only when you are up close that you notice that what you thought was a brash vanity is the bravado that erupts from huge insecurities. That what you thought was rude, is actually shy and unconfident. What you thought was generosity is attention seeking behaviour…

I’ve recently been posting on instagram (@elenathomas13) short videos of myself drawing, while the songs are playing in the studio. The feedback I am getting from these is interesting. They are “relaxing”, “compelling”, “I listen to the words more carefully when I watch you draw” “You seem so sure about where the pen will go, I find it reassuring, comforting”

The last three are from the same drawing, different quiet corners of a piece of paper 4” x 6” / 120 x 180 cm (approx) wide. I’ve been working on it on and off for a couple of weeks now. I keep finding more to do, I turn the paper around and draw a bit more. When I turn the paper and find no more, then it’s done. Possibly another couple of weeks? I spend a lot of time with a drawing and I know its surface well. I know its bold brashness, and I know its insecurities… 

I am prone to anthropomorphise…

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