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Weaving Water #1

Weaving Water #1
2007 / Graphite and Gouache / 53 x 50 inches



Weaving Water

Rivers running wildly over rocks, ripples of water circulating in ponds, puddles forming and deforming, the constant gurgle of a small spring -- these mysterious and energetic struggles in nature are the motivation for my series Weaving Water. This group of pencil and charcoal gouache drawings are a visual expression of the transience experienced when interacting with the powerful force of water.

This series began with a visit to the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago where I was inspired to create some realistic images of the dramatic scene found in the botanical gardens. In my studio, these sketches turned into large drawings that seemed to grow a life of their own. One stroke of the pencil led to another, the mark-making felt natural and immediate -- almost automatic. At times I became so in-tuned to the image that it was perfectly harmonic to create the next line.

The cycles of nature -- life and death, regeneration, evolution, and time -- all inform this series of work. Weaving Water speaks about movement, formation, and an instinctual intention to live. Though the drawings reflect the imagery of water in various environments, there is a definite human touch as well. As each droplet joins another to form a river or soaks into the earth to feed botanical life, a similar experience occurs in humanity. An invisible energy seems to drive us onward, helping us to find purpose and meaning in life. The process of documenting the sometimes rapid changes in nature, especially in water, bring to question the cycles of human life. What influences our path? Where does our energy come from? And why do we feel such a strong connection to nature, yet at times feel so different?

In my practice, the materials and technique used are just as important as the final drawing. The use of a monochromatic color choice is very purposeful, as I feel it provides a more direct interpretation of the image -- simplifying and yet, at the same time, intensifying the artwork. Values are quickly discerned, though with the many, many marks used to make one piece, the image isn't immediately clear. Time with the piece allows viewers to slowly interpret the image -- like solving a picture with their eyes; following curvilinear marks in and out, over and under, until an awareness of water and rocks is seen. Water has form, yet it is also formless. These drawings attempt to reconcile this duality as I investigate the line between realism and abstraction.