Looking at this artwork that I made recently reminds of reading The Chronicles of Narnia as a young girl. The link between it and the wondrous CS Lewis books is somewhat obvious in that there is an allegorical quality to both the drawing and to those wonderful stories which I never really understood but felt captivated by none the less.
I had no interest in reading any other fantasy tales nor have I since which makes me wonder what it was about the books that enraptured me.
Whatever it was I know it still exists in me. I’d call it an attunement.
Currently rereading Henry Miller’s Tropic of Capricorn. I read it once before over a year ago and see that I have underlined more passages than I have done in any school text.
The passages that struck me then as particularly resonant are today even more so. I’m grateful to have made indications to such passages as I know they are they’re readily accessible to me whenever the need for sustenance arises.
On the pursuit of gaining an understanding of himself he says
I couldn’t afford to leave things hanging in suspense that way- the mystery was too intriguing. Even if I had to rub myself like a cat against every human being I encountered, I was going to get to the bottom of it. Rub long enough and hard enough and the spark will come
This is another drawing I did from the cover of a book. It is from a modern Penguin edition of Franz Kafka’s The Castle which I never finished. The cover image was intriguing to me. It was of a photograph a deer made out of paper bags.
A strange and bizarre image, slightly disturbing too. I just researched the cover and see the deer was worn as a mask by a male figure. It is crudely attached to him with rope and a block of some sort. Very effective image and so very apt for this bewildering Kafka text.
I recall feeling nervous and apprehensive while reading it. The confusion and frustration endured increasingly by the central character known only as K on his lowly quest for access were maddening in a very disagreeable way so I discontinued it.
Perhaps it was too close to home for me. The vivid description of the protagonist’s incrementally increasing state of anxiety, frustration, expectation followed by deflation was more than I could endure. The setting so bleakly banal, a murky maze inhabited by petty bureaucrats and officials, a host of doubting sneering gatekeepers. Torture without respite. Possibly easier for others to indulge in but I say only possibly but those are some states I am all too familiar with and need little stimuli to generate them which is why I put it aside.
Kafka died before completing it.
The cover image reflects the nightmarish world the reader is drawn into.
I didn’t include the masked figure but focussed on the sculptural qualities of the paper deer. It was very challenging to draw and I am amazed at how lifelike they look.
My inspiration often comes from my daily life. Be it the view I look out onto or the books and films on my bedside table. What lies in front of me basically. Books are so immersive I feel sometimes as if I am in a relationship when deeply engrossed in a novel or biography. I often forget that the material was only read and not exchanged in person and often feel compelled to return to the “conversation” with someone in my life only to then realise that the massive compelling subject that felt so lived came from the pages of a book. At times my experiences with books feel more real than my personal relationships in the sense that I become so captivated propelled to discuss, inhabited by them. They follow me in sleep into my dreams.
I’m an introvert. I also have a sort of empathy for inanimate objects. I speak to them and care for them like pets if they are particularly important to me. With books I love and have felt bonded to I often draw the cover or the author photo. It fastens the bond and the memories of the time spent in company of the book become sharper and more identifiable in time. The experience is expanded . Perhaps its covetous. Reading Herman Hesse‘s If The War goes on was followed with a ink drawing of the great writer.
This is a drawing from a DVD cover. In this instance it was more the striking image of the actor’s face that led me to sketch it. Studying a face from a photograph is an intimate action. In following the shapes contours and expression so closely with hand and eye a sense of empathy and understanding is transferred. I’ve noticed it on a few occasions at least.