A snowy day prompted a turn to my bulging portfolios and their contents lined up along my studio walls. It was a good time to do this although I really don’t like sorting stuff. As I pulled the contents from each portfolio and laid them on the table it was like an archeological dig; layer upon layer of drawings executed in charcoal, pencil, pastel and pen and ink came into the light again after spending many years inside the portfolios. Each section had been carefully packaged and I opened each one and sorted through the contents. Some of the pieces were smudged, especially the charcoals and pastels but the paintings had fared quite well. But I believe they would be fine with a few touch ups from a kneaded eraser.
I was looking for something. Well actually several things. The first was my photograph of my Mother and a fawn buck she raised way back in 1971. I had enrolled in a photography course in school at Ball State University and naturally my family was one of my favorite subjects. I had taken a picture of my Mother in the side yard of our house at Camp Atterbury . I probably used the Nikkormat I purchased that year and still have, it had wonderful optics.
Recently, at her memorial before Thanksgiving this year, a copy of this photograph was prominently displayed at King Hall, Camp Atterbury, Edinburgh, Indiana. My children had asked for copy of the picture and I promised them I’d find it. I knew there might be more of them printed at the time. I was fairly sure I had the negative and I was curious about the prints I had made in the darkroom . As I went through the photographs from that period, I found two copies, one just a print, the other a print dry mounted on a white piece of illustration board.
In my second search I didn’t expect much. I already had two very detailed black India ink drawing on layout paper of the original concept for the colossal piece I’m working on now. But, once I went forward with opening each package of drawings I found clues to the time I would have been thinking about this concept. I found drawings for sculptures I had executed and had no photographs of and other pieces that were modeled in clay but never saw the inside of a foundry. A certain sadness of those aborted projects came over me, but it was good to revisit them.
As I continued to set out the pile of drawings and as each drawing was moved to a new pile, I found several references to my original idea on layout paper, probably the first pass with the ink as they weren’t complete. To my complete surprise I found two large sheets of heavy mould made paper with the images painted in oils. These two drawings preceded the ink drawings and they’re different. Close but different.
Now out in the open I’ll carefully catalog them for my time line of the creation of the “Colossus of Rhodes”, a term my husband uses for the sculpture. That will suffice for now, I don’t like to name a sculpture until it’s finished.