So far, I’ve “researched” rowing boats, discovering that the simple row boat is not the only option: I’ve got kayakes, canoes, dinghies, skulls and probably even more. Or not. I see that most of those just mentioned depend on paddling, not rowing.
At the beginning of every project, I am at my most literal. Abstractions grow later. In my sketch book, I’m teaching myself to draw rowboats, borrowing heavily from photographs and instructional drawing books. With the Art Institute’s library within easy reach, that’s a lot of instruction.
The writing component is trickier for me just now because I don’t have a text of any relevance handy, which means writing one. I trust this will emerge from the freewriting and “coincidences” bound to reach me as I ponder the project. In fact, I recently took a workshop in developing intuition through imagination (see www.lynnwilloughby.com) and one of the exercises involved describing, in great detail, a boat. This exercise alone could be a small artist book. It well may be.
When I’m not pondering the images or the text, I’m playing with the structure. If the boat is in movement, I want a book that moves. One of my favorite structures is a “meander” book, a folded sheet that yields 32 pages. There are pivotal pages that literally turn the book around. I’ve always wanted to focus movement on those pages.
Finally, there’s an idea/practice I’m committed to which involves using, as material, pages from the many many journals I’ve kept since 1967. I want to re-use, recycle and re-invent these pages before I die or have to throw them away because they won’t fit into my cell at the old folk’s home. They are, mercifully, no longer precious. They have become the sea upon which my little boat floats.
Here are some pages from my sketchbook.
Group 7 “Rowing Boat”