Friday, February 8, 2013

The White Space



My son drew the above picture for an art unit last year in his 6th grade class. And because I love trees, and snow, this image captivates me. It also stirs up this dreamy, evocative feeling—sort of like deja vu. It's hard to explain, but every time I look at the charcoal trunks against the colorless background, something feels just out of reach in my heart. It makes me think of silence and solitude. Of being far away from home and lost. 

Initially, my son refused to let me display it, because he was unhappy with the quality of his work. He said he'd only been given a short time to come up with a subject, and he had to rush through the assignment just to get it done. What he brought home "wasn't even a finished piece of art." Well you know what? I find that fascinating on a couple of levels. 

First of all, isn't it wild how one person's trash (he wanted to throw it away) is another person's treasure? For as much as he doesn't like his picture, I really really love it! (FYI, I did ask his permission to post it on my blog and talk about what it means to me, and he willingly gave me his blessing.) Our discrepancy also makes me wonder: where does an artist's creation end, and a viewer's imagination begin? I have the same question when it comes to the written word, and those who read it. 

I've been spending more time reading poetry lately, and finding myself drawn to the absence of explanation on the page. In an age where answers are one millisecond away by the gods of google, my soul longs to contemplate the unknown.

I crave the things unfinished and things left unsaid. 

The things not visible. 

The white space.






8 comments:

  1. I love your son's drawing, too! Beautiful and it really reminds me of my view today (with all the snow). I'm so impressed that you're writing poetry -- I haven't done that in many many years and I've never done it very well (which I suppose speaks to your point of that discrepancy...). I love your photos, by the way!

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    1. Oh Julia, I've been wondering how you're doing... Is Maine in line for the big storm that's making its way across the country? I took those pics (in this post) during our snowstorm yesterday, but we were nowhere near the 2-3 feet they're predicting for the Northeast!

      And btw, I had to make a change in wording in order to clear something up: When I wrote that I was spending time with poetry, I only meant in terms of *reading* it. Wish I could write it too, but so far, I'm not so good at it. Stay warm & safe...

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  2. I love that drawing too. I see so much in it, all the tension and the memory in the trees, all the burn of silence in the white. I wonder if something of the soul of real things (trees, snow) enters into all drawings of them, and we then see what we know of them. I'm glad you rescued that picture.

    I too crave the unfinished and unsaid, the silence, the space. I recently read Megan Whalen Turner's books and they were all about that. The distance between the reader and the characters was wonderful - for some, we never even knew their real names - because in that wordless space relationship could be woven.

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    1. Sarah, ever since I read it, I can't stop thinking about this part of your comment: "I wonder if something of the soul of real things (trees, snow) enters into all drawings of them, and we then see what we know of them." I love the mystery in pondering that!

      I looked up Meghan Whalen Turner on amazon, and I wonder if my son would like her books. It's so hard to find good storytelling for his age and interests. And it would be a double bonus if they're books I would enjoy reading, too.

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  3. Oh, yes. So beautiful. Your son's art and your words. Thank you. a.

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  4. Barb this is gorgeous...the idea of contemplating what is unknown. I crave it too. Your son's art makes me happy. : ) Thank you.

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    1. Thanks Melissa. I will have to tell my son his picture has now been enjoyed by others and not just me. :)

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