Into Blinding Light

Man walks into blinding light.Often these days, I can’t see where I’m going.

I’m off to Ireland this Fall, which is wonderful, and it looks like there may be a moment of respite, with a house to stay in for a little while, not far from water. If all goes well, it may be possible to get some work done on a book, some drawings, and perhaps even an hour of reflection here and there. I’ve learned not to cling too tightly to the thoughtful, productive time that’s just around the corner, though. I’ve seen it coming, just a few weeks or months away, for several years now.

Like much of my life these days, though, it’s largely beyond my control. My wife’s sabbatical is an opportunity to go to her home country for a while, and I’ll see a lot of people I care a lot about. My parents will come over as well, later in the Fall, for a week or two, and over the course of those several months, a lot of fun will be had with them and the rest of our Irish family and friends. That much is certain. As far as time to work and think and make, experience tells me I’ll just have to see.

If work time, astonishingly, comes, as it well might, I’m not sure I’ll know where to start. Lately, even with a free day now and then, I often no longer really know what to do, because large projects have largely been abandoned. With a free afternoon or two every few weeks, it’s just not realistic to aim real high. When more ambitious threads are broken again and again, after enormous effort, one learns not to aim beyond the next few hours.   I putter around, and work on skills and tools that will hopefully make it possible to use what time I have, when it eventually comes, one of these days. As far as artwork goes, there’s a sense of trying not to let the spark fade out. The things that keep me sane and stable are not currently possible, most of the time. Yes, that means I’m less sane, less stable, also less articulate, less amusing, less sociable. My creative and social energy goes into helping my daughter to figure out the world and learn to talk and interact. It is time well spent, but I do miss myself.

In years to come, as our daughter starts spending more time away, at school and with friends, I know I’ll miss these current days of sun, wonder, animals and the alphabet, the smell of pee, and the delight of discovering cattails. Lots of fun, chasing, giggling, exploration. Very little of my life is about me, though, and I’m not sure what will be left of my identity in another year. I’ll figure something out then, and I’ll try to keep pausing to breathe occasionally in the meantime. Figuring that loss of self will turn out to be a gift in the long run, a door to transformative growth, etc. In the short run, though, it gets hard at times.

New Header Image. Something a bit simpler.

Yes, you noticed. I changed the picture at the top of the page. I liked the old one, but it’s more a collection of image fragments than anything, and I thought I’d like to put a picture at the top, however goofy, so it looks like a real person lives here. If the old one was a hodgepodge, you’re now treated to a different kind of excess. I was playing with Photoshop all day yesterday, making surfaces rise, fall, and rumple. On the whole, it’s not what I’d intended, and it will change in days to come, but how about let’s just put it up for now. Stuck up on the refrigerator until the next version emerges. The frantic reality of life as a daddy has me working digitally much more than I’m making prints & drawings lately, so perhaps it’s more honest to have a summary image that reflects the tools I’m actually using right now. Inky printmaking hands again someday soon, but for now, this. If you’re a big fan of the old header, here you go: (see below). Click on it to see it full-sized, and you can pretend it never left. The Joe Hill of  blog headers.

A collage of fragments from Eric Waldemar's prints and ink drawings.

The Pelican, the Alembic, and the Concealing Wall

Alchemist's pelican and alembic, scrawled on a rough wall. Mystery is not there merely to be solved, though the world would be simpler if it were. The alchemist’s pelican and alembic, the crucible and the centrifuge, each have their counterparts in the mechanics of our own conceptual and emotional back rooms. If we could just simply look, listen, and know what it is that we confront or behold, we could putter along with some confidence. As it stands, even the obvious turns out to have plenty of slack in it, and once common sense has lost its credibility, well, we just do the best we can with our guesses, and try to adjust quickly when we’ve judged the whole thing wrong, though we may have seemed to know the way at the time.

The Helmet is a Veil

Modified chalk drawing on concrete by Eric Waldemar- Veil-HelmetWho would have guessed that this, of all things, would come up at auction? There it is, though, “Item Number 4,” in all its concrete glory. A face mask or helmet also acts as a veil, shielding the prying gaze while reflecting back the observer’s face. Bid high and make my day (though I don’t get a penny of it). See you there.