Friday, February 19, 2016
Despair and Protection Avenue
Another day, another drawing, this one of a house on the corner of Protection Avenue and Route 2 in North Adams, MA. I'm a sucker for triangles and shadows. This drawing is an 8x10 with ink wash, pen and ink, and pastel. I'll get back to Brooklyn but sometimes this area where I do live is pretty nice too.
About three weeks ago, the writer Sarah Manguso wrote a column in the Sunday Times Book Review. She said, "The purpose of being a serious writer is not to express oneself, and it is not to make something beautiful, though one might do those things anyway. Those things are beside the point. The purpose of being a serious writer is to keep people from despair. If you keep that in mind always, the wish to make something beautiful or smart looks slight or vain in comparison." Just substitute "painter" for "writer" to get the full meaning.
As a painter, I usually operate on the "expression" and "beautiful" wavelength, so her words hit me hard. Maybe the only person I keep from despair is myself. But it doesn't hurt and it's not pretentious to think in terms of a bigger picture or a higher or deeper level when painting or drawing.