While sitting inside the Heart Circles at the winter gathering of Radical Faeries at Breitnbush Hot Springs in the mountains of Oregon last weekend I made this drawing in the round book I have shared in an earlier post. These circles are sacramental events lasting three hours each morning where the center holds opportunity for individuals wishing to share their joys, or to wrestle tough questions… & too often to bring their pain for potential healing inside this cauldron of acceptance in loving safety.
The first morning I only made the circle of the margin as I listened, beginning the process of collecting the meditative mood I use to intuitively “translate” the ideas & words, the voices & mostly the wide range of emotions into some visual form which reflects in some abstracted manner all that which cannot be literally shared outside the confidential enclosure otherwise.
I came to so love the simple line drawing which came over the second & third days that I was loathe to add the chiaroscuro shading I usually use… but on the last morning as I listened to a particularly difficult story I came to know I could not omit the more fulsome dark which all light requires as contrast. I brought it home to finish last night. Those denser tones require delicate building up with much care on the soft texture of the rag paper’s surface which the pencil lead can crush if too much pressure is used, making furrows which actually resist taking more layers of graphite. As the pattern took more form in the process I came to love the further result as much as the original simplicity.
While making these-less-than-perfect photographs I also shot one page back-lit, bringing the previous drawing into a new combination. I’ve had the notion of experimenting with cutting openings in pages to reveal multiple drawing in several layers. That will take gumption not yet found! I continue to explore the infinite possibilities for this book, which will, I suspect, take the rest of my life to fill all its 100 pages…

Another detail, of a previously posted page, uses the opposite effect, the shadow of the slightly folded book makes a strong abstraction, also displaying the rather heavy laid lines of the paper’s manufacture which affect the heavier tones.

The page before the one I just finished is another imaginary cityscape, rather like the more elaborate one posted here

We experienced less snow than was forecast for the time we were encamped… still the decoration was freshened each day. Sometimes it dusted just enough to heighten my enjoyment sitting in warm lithium laced mineral water caught in a rock pool perched overlooking a meadow to the river below… while flakes melted on my pate.

One afternoon I caught the late slanting sun illuminating ice on trees deep in dark woods… a challenge I did not quite do justice with the camera in my haste to grab that light.

Now that’s chiaroscuro!
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