Sunday, February 8, 2009

Evidence of things not seen:

Here's the steel quill pen, found after being missing for many years. Alas, the tip is broken. I don't remember breaking it - sigh!

So far in this drawing exhibit we've looked at images of things seen. All of the drawings were done while actually looking at the subject. Now we'll take a look at things seen only in the mind's eye. The first process informs the second.

I used to joke that I spent a year in Mississippi one month. It felt that way. As soon as I arrived there, and put my bare foot down, it was immediately attacked and stung repeatedly by fire ants. The heat and humidity were almost as ferocious. There was no relief from it. At night, when the heat abated slightly, the air was thick with ravenous mosquitos. The payoff was an opportunity to visit some really big swamps, a type of ecosystem that I am fascinated by. It was wonderful, though the company and circumstances were very strange - I don't think I should tell about that here. Let's just say that I was in disguise and leave it at that. I didn't really have a chance to spend much time alone deep in the swamps, but the atmosphere of the place made a deep impression. I do remember crouching concealed in a big clump of palmetto, looking closely at the surface of the water covered with vivid green duckweed, punctuated here and there with the firey orange blossoms fallen from trumpet vines somewhere up in the cypress tops.

It was not possible for me to draw while I was in the swamp, but once I got out I made these drawings. The character is Swamp Granny. In one drawing you can see her riding on the back of the crescent moon, itself tiptoeing over the stars, the little pointy shoes causing them to drip moisture like so many aphids exuding honeydew. The gourds she has tied to her waist are containers for lost souls who dream themselves into swamps like the one she presides over. Don't ask, don't tell.

There were several more drawings in this set. I think that William has the finest one ~ "Headless Deer with Skillets" (?) If so, maybe he'll send a jpeg.


Cathy said...

Heh, I remember your tale of that trip. Swamp Granny looks like a formidable dame, and I love her turtles.

Dan Dutton said...

She teaches the turtles to dance.

I hope that I get to spend some more time in a big swamp someday.

Mary Beth said...

Dan, I have a rather fine point steel quill pen if you want it. It's stained with dark ink and has a cork grip. The printing on the black handle is all by worn off. With my reading glasses and brightest light I can make out 75-R Paber U.S.A.Korka. The number on the steel tip is 750. There's also a short bristled pen wipe and a matching stamp box. The three are likely not of the same origin/owner but ended up together as desk ornaments. Just drop me an email if you could still make use of them.

Alan Evil said...

When I was doing a lot of pen and ink work I was always replacing those "crow quill" tips. I bought two complete sets of tips a couple of years ago and I'm pretty sure that type is still less than a dollar.

Dan Dutton said...

Cathy found the quills and holders at Pearl Paint - wonderfully cheap. I order almost all my supplies from Jerry's Artarama in NC. They don't handle quill pens - since they have almost everything else, I assumed (ahem) that these pens were defunct and hard to get. I'm delighted to find out I was wrong!

Thanks, Mary Beth, & I promise a dream story soon!