Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sunrises and Drawings . . .

No, I have neither forgotten nor neglected my promise to tell you about the second portrait of myself, and the big reveal, along with some meditation about visual portrayals of women, is currently in the making.
But it's been très, très busy at work, not only with prep for upcoming classes, but especially with a Selection Committee I'm serving on for a Research Chair. This week we had public presentations, interviews, and then deliberations, so very full days. AND I'm fighting one of those summer colds -- quite mild, but requiring as much sleep (and kleenex!) as I can fit in.

So, instead, you get yet more pictures from my deck of the sun rising over the Coast Mountains across the Strait from us. Sorry, but I am continually fascinated by the literally countless permutations in which light and H20 and particles of pollution combine to dazzle. . . And I must say that while clouds so often point toward less pleasant weather, they also make for more varied, generally more dramatic dawn displays. Without being too trite, perhaps there's some sort of life metaphor there.

And to assure you that I am thinking about drawing, getting ready to write more about portraits, here is a pertinent passage I serendipitously came across yesterday in the wonderfully wise and perspicacious late-age memoir by Diana Athill, Somewhere Towards the End. Highly recommended reading.
Given a lot of money I would collect art, both drawings and paintings. There are many ways in which a painting can be exciting, but a drawing that thrills me is always one that has caught a moment of life. Drawings are what artists, great or small, do when they are working their way towards understanding something, or catching something they want to preserve: they communicate with such immediacy that they can abolish time. I possess a drawing by a Victorian artist of his wife teaching their little girl to read by candlelight; in a book about Pisanello, who lived in the fourteen-hundreds, I have four quick sketches he made of men who had been hung. Each, in its different way, makes one catch one's breath: one might be there, looking through the eyes of the men who did those drawings. (Perhaps oddly, drawings presented as works of art are less likely to have this hallucinatory effect than private notes or studies.)

No frailty in that 89-year old voice, is there!
We're heading over to the city today -- we've got some time booked with a certain toddler, and our youngsters are putting together a family celebration of Pater's retirement, very sweet of them. We'll try to sneak in a dinner out to mark our recent 36th anniversary (already observed with a very nice meal at home), another visit to the Vancouver Art Gallery to see those drawings, and perhaps even catch a movie (I'd love to see I Am Love!). Sounds a bit too ambitious overall, and I suspect some goals will be jettisoned along the way -- any weekend plans shaping up at your place?