I’ve begun working on the Kavad again after a long hiatus of working on the object itself. (That is, I’m now back to drawing directly onto the foamcore, as opposed to sketching in notebooks). Sachiko Umoto’s book series about drawing (she’s apparently the Ed Emberley of Japan) was really helpful, because it got me over the fear of creating drawings of people. Really, on the kavad, they just have to be recognizable as people, rather than as apes or mysterious blobs. When these images are executed in paint as opposed to ink (IF they ever get executed in paint on wood), they’re going to be tiny — at the current scale they’re maybe 1.5″ wide by 3″ high… and I haven’t labeled them with their names or attributions yet.
One of the things that I wasn’t expecting to happen, but is, is that the images themselves are speaking to me. The first four were these… but you’ll notice that the later ones in the series are much less…. refined. Clear. Eloquent (can an image be eloquent?) Anyway, these four were very clear about how they wanted to be represented. 1 VIrgo, for example, insisted on a bare midriff and a belly button, and she wants her hips cocked in the next version. 3 Leo wanted his foot up on something “Like Captain Morgan.” 2 Cancer didn’t think people understood that she was singing and playing, and she wouldn’t let me draw in her smile until there were musical notes around her head.
The other figures that I did in this series so far have been much more dour and slow to communicate. They ‘get’ that I want to get one set down and figure out how to portray them, but they’re also annoyed that I haven’t listened as closely.
Is it strange to give pictures identities, personalities, mindsets, opinions? The magical tradition says that these images are windows to the divine. I’m finding that to be so… whether it’s the creative artist in me which is speaking, and saying, “that line is not quite right” or “add some musical notes around her head,” or whether it’s the images themselves who have stories to tell…
I would like to say that it’s unclear what’s happening. But I have a degree of clarity about this which you, the reader, may not have. Sometimes, silence is best.