Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Matter of Vision

As I wrote in the prior post, I have been thinking about how to express the topic of vision in the sketchbook project. I am to fill 3 or 4 pages and then consider some repeating feature that is carried throughout to create a sense of flow. Then I send it off to other artists to add their creativity to the remaining pages. I must confess to being too intimidated to mark directly in the accordion fold moleskine. Instead I decided I should at least start sketching outside of it and see if I come up with anything I can use and glue it in later. It is beginning to take shape and I thought it was far enough along to share with you here.

As you may recall my theme is vision and I am basing my material on the experience of my friend who has macular degeneration and has learned how to manage within its constraints quite competently. On my last visit she showed me how she reads her mail and I took some pictures as source material. Now I began to sketch an image of her as she read, one round magnifier on her glasses lens, pressed up against another on the page she was reading. In this fashion she is able to read brief information.

I have been thinking about my conversation with her when we last went out to eat and I was startled at her perception of me picking up chopsticks. "You can use those?" she questioned to which I had replied, "You can see them?" Often movement or contrast gains her attention and I have to remind myself that legally blind isn't totally blind.

Since this sketchbook is mine, I thought I'd put my own image at the beginning. I had my husband take a picture of me holding chopsticks with the quizzical appraising glance I had turned towards my friend when she asked her question. I am picturing a pattern of chopsticks falling from the sky in the blank space in front of me. I'd like to include some text that tells a little of her story and the exchange which prompted the portrait.

I had printed out the image of my eye from my eye doctor, quite otherworldly in orange with the inner eye in yellow, a sun around which all orbits. I cut out the image of my friend and of me and began to arrange them on the page as I imagined them, although the page is actually four folds that unfold into one or can stand alone. I wanted her against the background of the eye with the yellow sun out in space as if she were an astronomer examining the universe. I also wanted some space at the bottom to include text. I decided to continue the background of the eye behind my figure to unite the pages. In front of me I cut out chopstick forms from the print of the eye and placed them in the open space. I will write out our exchange in a delicate ink pen and perhaps continue with text next to her figure.

I am also thinking that the form of chopsticks cut out of the same color as the eye, scattered throughout the sketchbook will provide a unifying theme that others can incorporate into their own artwork.

With it laid out I can begin to weigh other decisions. I may add some paper to round out my figure so it isn't cut off by what was the edge of the paper and create more of a sense of flow between the two figures. I also am considering whether to add ink to my figure as I have used it in the other. Every artistic creation is filled with many such small decisions and it is often surprising how one seemingly minute decision can pull it all together.

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