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Monday, 24 September 2012


Charcoal on Board - very small K Howell 2012
I was thinking of calling this project Fifty Shades of Grave, but I don't think it'll catch on.

I've concluded that monochromatic is the way to go for these - something about the weight of shadow works better. I've yet to find the silvery light I'm after, so I'll pursue that seriously now. And see what works. Definitely an inside job, as the rain pours down.

These forms are grounding, stable. Solid, and yet empty. Full of contradictions. Seriously wonderful to play with.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Dangerously Dysfunctional (Can we fix it?...Yes we can!)

Dangerously Dysfunctional K Howell 2012 Pastel on Paper

I write a lot. What I struggle with (most) is rewriting. Well, rewriting effectively. However. I took copious notes while I was away spending time with words and lovely word-people, because wise words were being flung about. I came back and read the novel that needs rewriting. Saw the naked truth of out-of-sequence reassembly, intermittent failure and parts problems. All of which I knew.

Took said novel apart. Laid out the pieces. Refashioned some parts. And contemplated how to put it back together in a way that would ensure that the engine ran smoothly and accelerated on hills. Re-read the copious notes detailing most excellent advice. Considered my tools. And tried some things.

I then read the most astounding passage. Page 304 of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The narrator discusses internal blocks to affective understanding, or "value traps". He says,

"Of the value traps, the most widespread and pernicious is value rigidity. This is an inability to revalue what one sees because of commitment to previous values. In motorcycle maintenance, you must rediscover what you do as you go. Rigid values makes this impossible." (Robert M Pirsig)

Who, me? Ah. (*&%&^*^%).

It's magic when practical advice is echoed in fiction. I'm documenting this in the hope that it might be useful to someone else.

Monday, 3 September 2012

The Shark in the Cellar

Dogfish - it followed me home!  K Howell 2012 Charcoal on paper
      The smell was an effective reminder. I'd been meaning to draw it since it did a posthumous leap into the sandcastle bucket earlier this summer. But with all the distraction of a week away Writing (!!!!!), it didn't happen right away. The Dogfish Remains patiently continued to decompose in the cellar. Silent, fragile and fragrant.

      But today, at last, we spent some quality time together. I took the shark corpse out on our back drive and did some drawing. We share the drive with a neighbour, in front of whose garage door I had parked myself to draw. To his credit, he didn't bat an eyelid when he came out through the garage and had to negotiate me, my dead fish and children on various arrangements of wheels. I do appreciate my neighbours. All of whom will be pleased to know I've now disposed of the Remains.