"A work of art really is above all an adventure of the mind." ~Eugene Ionesco

vintage photograph interpreted in graphite

In the last few months, I have been living quite a few adventures of the mind. Each new portrait transports me to another place, another time. The work I am doing this afternoon, a cold, blustery day here in eastern Canada, is bringing me back to the early 1900s.

An acquaintance of mine recently emailed me this picture of her grandmother with a request to draw her.

Isn't she beautiful? I love her long lashes and the elegant upswept hair. Her eyes are transfixed on someone... She seems very focused.

Or is she daydreaming? Maybe she is thinking of all the chores she must get done after the photo session?

Is her mind wandering out of the studio to the sunny day and the tranquil shaded park where she will soon walk with a young man who will one day be her husband?

Is she thinking of refreshing iced tea for her parched throat?

How long has she been posing?

In drawing her, I am transported to a time of horse and buggies, a time where mail, and milk, and perhaps bread were delivered door-to-door if she was well-to-do and lived in town.

Perhaps she preferred walking to the local general store to purchase her daily necessities. She would no doubt meet friends along the way and have a pleasant chat.

So you see, my mind is not in the present time.

And as I sketch at the kitchen table, the sun warming the room, my two dogs sleeping quite contentedly in their little pillow beds, and Canadian Loreena McKennitt "the wind that shakes the barley" singing in the background, it is so easy to imagine a past life with all its chores, but also with many simple joys.

I still have quite a bit of work to do as I soften the shading and continue to darken the darkest areas. I love her blouse with the little brooch at the collar. So feminine. And I love where she is bringing me. An adventure of the mind...

Sophie and Chico (dogs) sleeping in the sun

2 Responses

  • What a romantic you are dear Louise.. very poetic in your description of the beautiful lady you are sketching for your friend. I am sure by the time she is finished the end result with be treasured for generations to come.

    • Well, this is new for me Sally as I have to guess what the person might look like underneath the shadows. I would love to know more about her but in the meantime, I let my imagination fill in the blanks.

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