Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Desert Ocean


Desert Ocean

Pencil and charcoal on paper, 18" x19"
$400 plus $15 shipping in U.S.

For check payment or other arrangements, email don@dailyartwest.com


I'm guessing I'm not the only artist who does this: a fair proportion of the artwork I do hardly ever gets seen, even by me. That's because after they're completed, things are often stored away in flat files or folders. They don't get framed, don't go to exhibitions or galleries, are rarely shown to studio visitors. They're kind of like movies that go straight to DVD--never making it to the theater. These half-remembered pieces sit safely tucked away for years--out of sight, out of mind. It isn't necessarily that I think all of them are unsuccessful--they just get overriden by the urgency of process. There is always the desire to make another work, and still another. If there's no show scheduled at the time or no particular place for them to be--off they go to limboland. When an exhibit does come along, I always want to show my "current" work, so these earlier pieces remain in exile.

Sometimes when I'm rummaging through the archives, one of these lost works reappears, and with it comes a flood of memories. That's what happened with today's drawing. I did it back in 1999, when we were still living in Flagstaff, Arizona. I had a box of things picked up on walks through the Arizona landscape--things like a dried stalk of yucca, or the seed pod from a desert tree. Echoes of these forms found their way into the drawing, along with seashells from another box. The title "Desert Ocean" sprung to mind. Much of the dry landscape of the Southwest once lay under ancient seas. Looking across these vast, silent spaces, I often sensed the presence of that ocean as if it were still there--held in the memory of that hot, dry land.

I looked at this drawing today--my "re-discovery"-- and decided I liked it. Its resemblance to the recent drawings I've been doing gives me a comforting sense of continuity. There's a certain poetry to it that touches me. I hope you feel the same.

10 comments:

lochinvarwelsh said...

Your drawing reminds me of Barbara Kingsolver's book, "High Tide in Tucson" and the juxtaposition of ways of life. A lovely little drawing. Hope your heater is fixed.

Don Gray said...

Thanks, lochinvarwelsh. I haven't read that one yet--need to get it. Kingsolver is a great writer.

Still a cold studio, but help is on the way today (I hope)!

RUDHI - Chance said...

Yes I feel the same...

shirley fachilla said...

Very nice post and charcoal drawing. It reminds me a lot of the work of a local artist, Susan Mulcahy; she works only in charcoal. Google her name plus "artist." and her website will pop up.

Don Gray said...

Hi Rudhi--glad I'm not alone. :^)

Don Gray said...

Thanks, Shirley. I'll check Susan's work out.

Sheila Vaughan said...

Wow, I like it too Don. Doesn't it prove also - we are who we are who we are... kind of thing. What grabs us now is the same sort of thing that grabbed us years ago. Almost like a genetic imprint. I find the whole process fascinating.

rahina q.h. said...

hey Don, this reminds me of the treasures brought in by a waves and this is a snap shot of the treasure brought in by one particular wave... atmospheric work!
(ps due to copyright that video is banned in scotland;)

Don Gray said...

That's so true, Sheila. I've noticed in myself and others a tendency to respond to certain forms. In my case it doesn't matter what it is, a rock, a clump of trees, a person's face, I am drawn to certain rhythms or angles, and I see those forms repeated through the years in my work. It's quite abstract, really. I call it "shape consciousness." I think everyone has this innate recognition that is very personal.

Don Gray said...

Oh, I see what you mean, Rahina. That's what I love about hearing another person's interpretation of a piece, it helps me see it differently too. Thanks.