Keirartworks's Blog

hmmm. hmmm?

shovel

3 Comments

Imprint:  A rapid learning process by which [an artist] establishes a behavior pattern of recognition and attraction to another animal or an object (artistic license generously applied)

Drawing is like that, for me.  The translation of an object or a face or a scene from eye to paper or canvas leaves a permanent impression in my artist mind – an imprint.  The work I’m currently doing in my studio is like this.

I’m working on a series of painting/drawings about simple tools:  Shovel  Axe  Hammer  Pencil  clamp  wrench  etc –   things in common use as extensions of our physical needs –  to garden, clear, build, keep warm (firewood), communicate and figure out.

Simple tho it may seem, the shapes and planes in a shovel (this one is a spade) are as complex as those of a human face – especially since I’m drawing an old one that still shows it’s history – mortar, rust, paint.  As I draw I’m amazed at how specific each slope is to the function of the tool.  If I were an anthropologist examining this object  2000 years from now I could easily discern it’s use – the shape speaks.

But I know more than she, because this is MY spade I’m drawing, and I have physical memory of using it:

Digging digging, hitting rock, finding the rock’s edges, then straining the long ash handle to lever out great slabs of limestone, great chunks of granite.  There is no bottom to this pile of soil – I’m down through four feet of strata – weeds, topsoil, clay – all of it growing rocks for harvest.  Loosen roots, turn soil, break solid clods with the back of the spade – whack, whack, clunk.

Right foot bruised on the push edge of the spade,  fingers slippery with mud, knees and boots caked and heavy, face smeared – I am utterly content.

Shift to my studio. My face and clothing is smeared with charcoal and paint.  I am barefoot, staring staring at this painting I collaborate with.

Now at my draughting table, write, sketch, play cards- anything to catch the next right decision out of the corner of my eye – then leap up in the aha moment to make an adjustment, addition, or big sweeping change.  I am utterly engaged, utterly content.

Early stage of the shovel painting. It's come a long way since then - looking a little like a prehistoric cave painting now, tho that may change.

The next painting is an axe.

I’ll keep you posted.

Advertisements

Author: keirartworks

Artist, Musician, Writer, Teacher. Mum to an incredible person, friend to many, Incredibles. Gardener. Thinker. Collaborator. K

3 thoughts on “shovel

  1. lovely … I once did a painting of our old shovel against our ancient shed. Brought back memories. Old tools hold such visceral memories.

  2. This is great, Keira. I’m a big fan of shovels. I have an old wooden grain shovel, but can’t quite figure out what to do with it.

    • I think grain shovels were hand-made in the 1700s & 1800s – yours must have incredible stories. Can you mind-meld with it & write them down? then post them so I can read them….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s