I used to love to draw.
I would draw for hours every day, and did so till I left my parents house. I don’t know what happened to pull me away from it. I just focused on something else, I guess. I have been aware of this over the last decade, of course, but it’s almost as if I was done with it. Not terribly interested. The last few times I picked up a pencil or a brush, I felt lost. Almost silly.
Wesley likes to draw.
We spent a fair amount of time at my mothers kitchen table this trip. Watercolours and crayons and markers in hand, not really drawing anything in particular. A lot of shapes. A lot of colour. With no focus on an outcome, we came up with the most beautiful pictures. And lost track of time. And enjoyed being silly. I made us masks out of scrap paper. Wesley mixed his paints and smushed his wet paintings together. I drew a forest with red paint and made his bear mask blue. My cat mask was red. I have a new crush on the colour red.
Later in the week, I am wandering around the The Rooms, the Provincial archives, art gallery and museum. The Rooms towers over downtown St. John’s and it’s third floor cafe looks down upon the colourful row houses and out into the harbour. I end up there every visit, as my best bud works there. Every visit, we have a quick tea, and head to the art gallery for a stroll and a chat.
It’s so nice to walk in the quiet and just take in the work. The permanent collection houses so many beautiful pieces, and I love how Jason reminds me that they are mine. That they belong to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. He has so many interesting stories and anecdotes from the artists. I feel really blessed to have him to share the space with.
We come upon one of my favourite pieces in the permanent collection. It is by Mary Pratt, an artist from New Brunswick who has spent most of her life in Newfoundland. Famous for her still life realist paintings, Mary was married to another renowned artist, Christopher Pratt for decades. They built a family in Newfoundland and lived in a small outport. They also shared the same subject.
Both artists represented this woman in their work, with Christopher drawing her many times over many years. Christopher drew from memory, whereas Mary drew from photographs. This difference breeds such statement in their depiction of this woman.
Christophers interpretations of her are serene and demure, slight dimples at the curve of her back, tight stance and her face turned away.
Mary has a different view.
Donna looks straight at the viewer, in full colour, full light. Seated, almost crumpled.
They think differently of Donna. Or they want us to think differently of Donna.
The socks. The socks, or absence of. In Marys painting, the slight indent from Donnas removed socks puts a cast around her leg. She grasps her ankle, and these indents make her so very ordinary.
Specificity is the soul of all good communication.
I adore this painting. It says so much. It’s so raw.
I am glad it’s mine.