For the past eight six years I’ve been making charcoal drawings of my possessions, including my grandmother’s cast iron doorstop, my underwear, my jewelry, a small bronze Buddha. I draw with the softest charcoal possible so that the dust falls in shadows. The titles often describe the objects and sometimes their colors. For example, a black charcoal drawing of nine views of a bar of white dove soap is titled Nine White Doves. I completed a series of drawings based on Andersen’s Fairy Tales that are framed with matchsticks. Recently, I’ve been making more elaborate drawings with charcoal, pastels, and watercolor.
I’m utterly in love with the sound of charcoal as it crunches between my fingers as I push it into the paper, how it glides along the surface and disappears when erased with a kneaded eraser or chamois, how it breaks and cracks, how the dust settles naturally or when I blow on the drawing. These were the first methods and tools I learned as a beginning art student and here I am again. I’m reminded of one of my favorite (and often quoted) passages from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets:
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time. “