Usually when I share process pictures of silhouettes, they’re for specific commissions, and the final transferred line is very tidy — it’s a function of the approval process, the need to fit specific formats. But when I work on my own pieces, for gifts or for patrons or as samples to test treatments for a larger project, the drawing isn’t neat at all.
It’s a graphite scribble directly onto the back of the paper, working out the curves and patterns, the tension and shapes, gesture and narrative. Dozens of searching lines until the promise of something is there on the page (this example is unusually tidy). When I cut, it’s a matter of choosing the right line from those there, improvising along structures established in the fray, or trusting to an average of equally appealing choices.
In a conversation today I realised that people think I’m being wildly productive and well-adjusted, and I’m really not. This isn’t to seek pity or sympathy (beyond the current blanket baseline!) — it’s just that I don’t usually talk too much about life outside art/writing on here, and wanted to keep it like that! Everything’s not great (although I’m much better off than many people and recklessly optimistic in company) and it’s been difficult to do anything at all except flail at urgent changes to courses I tutor, or else sit and stare at the sunlight (the weather’s been wonderful, which just makes it more surreal — usually disasters come with weather, and scents of mud or smoke heavy on the air).
But when I can, I potter and chip away at things, and it all comes back to art in the end, as usual — or at least, to stories. Making little lines, and flailing, and feeling my way back to a shape on the paper. Just one. And then another.
And the weather is marvellous.