Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Back Story

When you're doodling away, killing time, what do you doodle? Do you have images that you repeat over and over? I do:
  • a left eye
  • an apple (shading practice)
  • a derby hat (shading)
  • a specific nature scene.
While the first three items might be grist for psycho-analysis, the item that is important today is the last one. The nature scene.

Since I was quite small I've been compelled to draw this scene:

A gently sloping hill with a wide, gnarly tree growing just down to the right. If I added more detail, there would be a broken down fence to the left on the hill. And occasionally I'd put a house at the bottom of the hill with a different kind of tree in front. (my normal scribble tree.)

Hey, I scribbled this in about 1 minute.. do not diss my doodle skills!! OK, diss them. This still looks like a kindergartner drew it.

Anyway, the point. This is NOT a scene that would see living in Cleveland. Since the land was scraped and formed by the glaciers, the hills (such as they are) are sandstone cliffs eroded by water run-off. The land is oak/maple climax forest; the only spot where one will find a single tree is in a front or back yard. Uncleared forest yields a tree at least every square yard. And broken wandering fences? Nope.

So all my life I was compelled to draw what I believed was a completely imaginary scene. A scene I could not change.

"Let's change the shape of the hill." Couldn't. The pencil/pen wouldn't move.
"Let's change the shape or location of the tree." Couldn't. It had to be where it had to be.
"Well, let's put the house up on the hill with the tree." Again. Couldn't do it.

I had an imaginary scene that I could not alter. I grew to accept that.

Nine years ago last month we moved to California. I flew in on Sunday, the mover showed on Monday, Tuesday the spouser flew out of town for the rest of the week leaving me to unpack.

By Wednesday, I was finally beginning to adjust to the time change and the demands/stress/distractions were clearing enough that I could see beyond the tip of my nose. I slept until sunrise, walked down stairs, poured my first cuppa coffee. Then turned around to look out my back windows. And saw:

My doodle come to life.

That was the very moment when I knew in my bones that our move was part of my personal destiny. I could breathe again.

Since that time I do not compulsive doodle the scene. Nothing has replaced it as a hint toward my future, either. But when I need to calm and center myself, I will look here. So, having a bad day two weeks ago, I knew the image I had to use in making my silk screen.

PS. We do live in a 2 story house (though it resembles the doodle not at all).. and we do have a more traditional tree in that location: a sycamore. But our house is across a valley from the scene, not at the bottom of the hill.

And that's the back story. What back stories do your personal images have??

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

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