Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Rilke Project

"Once More My Deeper Life: For Rilke"
Conte pencil.
After a drawing in Frida Kahlo's journal.

I'm going to work with Rilke now.

I did this simple drawing with Conte pencils, using an image from Frida Kahlo's journal. I changed the drawing, giving my animal longer legs and giving the legs stripes. Kahlo's image was done in paint and bore no dedication. Her entire journal, though, is a dedication to Diego, to her great love for him.

On New Year's Eve, Allen and I drove up to Dearborn, MI to Blicks Art Store. I got hooked on the Conte pencils when I sampled one. We ended up buying the 48 pencil set, although it was very expensive. I was going to come home without it, but Allen could tell that I really wanted it and encouraged me to buy it. We also got a large set of colored pencils and other small things.

I've never worked with Conte pencils, but all of my attempts with pastels in the past were awful failures. I always overworked them, and they were just a muddy mess. This is my first try with the Conte pencils and at least I can say I didn't overwork the drawing. I hope to get better with my image-making as time goes on.

This drawing was done on a sheet of drawing paper folded in half. I'm going to do several pages dedicated to Rilke and then stitch them together into a book.

Why Rilke? Because I love him. Because he understood solitude and because of that understanding was drawn to Picasso's Family of Saltimbanques. Because Rilke put his art at the center of his life and found his salvation there.

The lettering inside the sun in my drawing is from a Rilke poem: "Once more my deeper life goes on with more strength...and the paintings I see seem much more seen into."

When I looked at the Kahlo image from her journal, I saw it with my deeper life. In that moment of seeing, really seeing, I wanted to use her work as a model and make it mine.

On another page of her journal, she wrote of trying out new pencils. That made me smile, since I, too, was trying out new pencils:

I'll try out the pencils
sharpened to the point of infinity
which always sees ahead:
Green-good warm light
Magenta-Aztec, old TLAPALI
blood of prickly pear, the
brightest and oldest
color of mole, of leaves becoming
madness sickness fear
part of the sun and of happiness
electricity and purity love
nothing is black--really nothing

leaves, sadness, science, the whole
of Germany is this color
more madness and mystery
all the ghosts wear
clothes of this color, or at
least their underclothes
color of bad advertisements
and of good business
distance. Tenderness
can also be this blue

Well, who knows!


emmapeelDallas said...

I love Frida Kahlo too. I'm glad you got your Conte pencils. I love your drawing. You're putting them to good use.


Christina K. Brown said...

Because Rilke put his art at the center of his life and found his salvation there.




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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

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