Loose Ends

Loose Ends Ink on paper, 12″ x 18″

Loose Ends (above) was an exercise in creating a “good” line and being brave. Or it began with a sketch I’d drawn in 2011 (left). I was with my parents who were visiting friends in San Francisco and I decided to spend some time by myself at a small diner and drew this on the back of one of their menus. I was just doodling.

But I liked the result so much I didn’t want to mess with it… until 2018, when I set out to extend it to something bigger, and that’s when it became an exercise in bravery. I only got as far as making a carbon copy of the original sketch onto water color paper (which I’d prepared with several washes of tea).

I believed I had to recall what the original intent was or some idea behind the line work before I could extend the idea further. I decided finally, in the last week, to not worry so much about going back in time and doing more of what I’d already done, but instead continue the lines in whatever way my hands wanted to.

I worked on it over the course of several days, section by section, starting with the lower right-hand corner (left). I decided not to use pencil because that would allow me to second guess myself… and I got a mess of lines. (I later covered these lines with heavier lines so they now feel like something in the background.) It occurred to me that the curve of the lines was influenced by the size of my hands and where they naturally wanted to bend the line. When it veered from a smooth or “good” line, I simply took the pen off the surface and resumed where it took a “wrong turn.”

The next day, I moved onto the upper middle section and tried to create some uniformity by allowing the lines to criss cross within these pod-like shapes. (Below) It got a little boring and formulaic, so I found myself extending some of these lines beyond the confines of the pods.

On the third day I moved to the upper right-hand corner (left) and may have stayed on it longer than I should have. It became again a mess of lines. It had occurred to me that this was an exercise in a third idea and that was “saving” the drawing from one “mistake” after another — or this was apart being brave by trying one line after another, knowing full well I was going to make many more mistakes.

Or maybe it undermines the exercise in being brave, as being able to save the drawing from these mistakes makes it not so easy to make a mistake I can’t recover from. (Why does it feel like I could apply this to life in general?) I eventually turned to making certain lines heavier than others so my eyes could have something to focus on.

I though i was done, but on the fourth day, I realized there still some empty spaces, so I lazily extended any loose ends, allowing again the size of my hands to determine where the lines would bend, until they found their way the edge of the paper. The upper left-hand corner is above and the lower left-hand corner is below, left, and the lower right-hand corner is below, right, after I’d gone over certain lines with heavier lines.

On the fourth day, I started to lose my nerve and began by allowing myself to use a pencil before committing new lines to pen. I eventually stopped worrying so much and started and ended the last few lines with a pen.

2 thoughts on “Loose Ends

  1. Pingback: Oasis – Gaa Wai

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