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And I have no answer

Published: 12 March 2019


Has he lost his mind?
Can he see or is he blind?
Can he walk at all
or if he moves,
will be fall?

— Black Sabbath

Back in art school, I was always criticised by my instructors for “drawing comics”. In that part of the universe, there were no edges that were hard enough to be represented by lines. Everything had to be rendered, and rendered properly. I never got past that stage where an edge was a line and it shows in my work until now. I was very good at drawing comics, particularly superheroes. But I was never really good at drawing the likeness of real people.

It's frustrating.

Many years ago, I put in a lot of work trying to improve my portrait drawing skills. I learned so many ways on how to deconstruct faces into their basic shapes, render those shapes as independent entities and as parts of a whole. I suppose I got very good at drawing faces. But still, not the likeness of real people: the people I see every day, the people that I wish I saw every day but didn't, and the people that I always see when I close my eyes.

Yeah, I may have a strong tendency to exaggerate but I'm not doing so now. I became very good at drawing people but not the people that I really cared to draw.

And it didn't matter what references I had. Coloured and monochrome photographs, high-contrast photocopies of photographs, the actual person posing right in front of me. I've always had that block. I've always had trouble deconstructing the various shapes that I see in their faces— I can always invent the shapes but never copy them, so I end up with something grotesque most of the time. I don't know how much sense I'm making now but it is what it is. It has been a long time since I've given up portraiture. Like the way I write poetry, I like drawing faces with as much freedom as I can have.

My whole life. My whole, entire life... there have only been two people whose likeness I've been able to draw in a way that has made me comfortable in looking at my own work. Comfortable in the way that I can acknowledge the drawings as being good representations of how I saw those people. Two people. One person is Inez. And in the twelve years that we've known each other, I had only done this feat once. Never to be repeated. And believe me, I tried. Many times.

One should now understand why I can't begin to explain how I feel about having been able to draw the likeness of this other person— twice, in two different angles, in colour, and all in the span of a few days. Why it's so... uplifting and special and simply, BONUM. It's so easy to lash out with “why are doing this, Arielle?!”; and I know that I have to be a lot more conscientious with what I do with these things. But half the time I'm just screaming to myself, “how am I doing this?!”

And I have no answer.

I am not myself. I haven't been myself for a few weeks now. I don't draw like this. I don't write like this— not this much, not this often. I don't make music and songs— just for any one— like this. I don't pray like this.

Who the fsck have I suddenly become?