Adding Context

Hello! I hope all are well and taking care.  By taking care, I mean trying to manage, yet not pretending that the Covid pandemic is over.

Of course, we all wish it were over. Another intense variant is jangling (even though scientists have warned for months that the low world-wide vaccination rates set the stage for new variants.) Still, here we are.

I am lucky enough not to have yet been directly affected by Omicron, but it has contributed to the hectic and uncertain background that seems to color so much today. But in the midst of that hecticness, I was able to take a part of Peter Hristoff’s Inventory Drawing class last week, which was devoted to prompts based upon the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca. Specifically Peter used words taken from Lorca’s poetry as prompts for drawings, starting with just one word at a time, and then combining separate words and short descriptive phrases. The drawings are all done in about a minute or two. 

The words were all English translations of Lorca’s words. (Lorca, of course, was a great Spanish poet and playwright, of the early 20th century, who was killed by Franco’s Nationalist forces at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.) 

I am certainly no expert on Lorca.  But his work is so strong–the wish for “green” in the midst of violence and hard-wired retribution is so intense and so creatively expressed–that it is hard for even my disjointed memory to blur the poignancy.  As a result, even a very generic word — like “hands”—when I know it has been chosen from a Lorca poem, brings up very different images than the word “hands” without that context. (My drawing based on “hands” below.)

They are not great drawings. I was traveling and had just a few non-messy drawing materials, and life being what it is, I was only able to take the initial part of the class. But even that bit was like a separate island of time and space, given the context of Lorca. (Of course, it wasn’t a completely placid island!)

While I tend to prefer to look at drawings without knowing their prompts, I think it is helpful here to include the prompts, as they give a greater sense of how context affects the image one comes up with. So, the one at the top was based (I think) on the words desert and dust storm. The ones below were sequentially, darkness; sleeping and tattoo; river which included also fire, bones, blossoms; mountain and beloved; well, wounds and summer; and, at the very bottom, ocean. (Note that I may be getting some of these wrong! Sorry, Peter!)

Note – I photographed some of these drawings at a time of day when I was able to capture refracted light on the image—of course,  that helps a lot!

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3 Comments on “Adding Context”

  1. Helen Dehner Says:

    Using Lorca’s words to inspire your drawings ~~ I ‘get’ how it shaped your response. Fascinating. Love the snippets of color!

  2. Katie Turner Says:

    I love that you shared your drawings from class – so very creative! Really nice!

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