Michael Divine


I begin with intimations. A corner, a cornice. A curve, perhaps witnessed in the form of a leaf or the nape of a neck. A line that expresses the color that is the sound of the car horn or the trumpet we just heard. We find a shadow. A glint of light. A background. A nearest and a farthest away.

Just a pen, meandering over the page – echoes of me: the way I comport myself in the world and the identity created, the current thrust of that being – his fears and hopes, his calm spaces and anxieties. Most of all, tho, his hopes. That’s what I focus on the most.

Somewhere in that creative miasma, drifting to and fro, perhaps a rhythm is found, like a jazz musician just riffing on chords and melodies til something sticks. Something starts driving that pen, the ideas start to gel and I catch on to what I am doing.

Ah, I say, maybe it looks something like this.

A new page is begun. This time with the rhythm of the idea already in play. The initial strokes are more confident. But, often it’s still – not quite. Ten new drawings are made each on top of the other. Five tiny thumbnails that are little caricatures of the whole.

And in the midst of that, the correct form becomes known.

Ah, I say, something like THAT.

Sometimes, there may be only one drawing ever for the painting I am to make. Other times, it is a thousand views of the same thing drawn over 5 years.

But even that one view, that one drawing, is built on dozens of others that all ambled along until one day one of them, without any real intention, blossomed forth a seed of an idea that found, in that moment, fertile ground.

This is the importance of keeping a sketchbook handy. Take notes of your surroundings. Let your hand doodle the rhythm of the spheres that surround and engulf you. And then work it out on a large sheet. If your hand can make a nice sweep of a line then carry that sweep into your arm. Carry that into your body. Feel it from your core. So that when you see it small on the little sketchbook, you can see it easily transformed into a whole world.

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