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drawing on history

My lifelong passion for vintage photos, the spark of an idea, and access to an unusually large number of images, created the right conditions for what was to become an on-going body of work that I call “Drawing on History”.  The initial concept was to work in color on black and white portraits. But as in all journeys, creative and otherwise, I find it best to go with my intuition. In 2011, I began the ink drawings on photos. The first year was dedicated almost exclusively to infants and toddlers. Year two moved into adults and some landscapes. More recently, I've been experimenting with using color and a more minimalist approach.

“Drawing on History” now numbers in the 100’s on Cabinet Cards, Cartes de Visite, RPPC (Real Photo Post Cards) and early vernacular images. They date from the 1860’s to the early 20th century. Discarded, lost, orphaned. The remains of lives we know nothing about. I look at many, many images, waiting until I feel a connection to a particular one. Then I focus on that image and begin an inquiry: What kind of energy, story, feeling is expressed?

Books are another of my great passions. In “Drawing on History”, certain images bring to mind and are manifestations of titles or lines from books. “Time Found”, “Metamorphosis”, “Consider the Oyster” and “Go Ask Alice” are all references to favorite books and authors.

The process of creating a piece begins with a silent inquiry with the image in that captured moment. The drawing experience is like a jazz improvisation in ink or paint. I stop when the connection ends. It can be one long dialogue, or, “conversations” over time, before the piece is complete. An intimacy develops with the images that creates a palpable bond that I re-experience looking at them, much like the feeling when meeting old friends.

I use parts of vintage cameras and or vintage book covers with marbled surfaces for presenting the images as objects and without glass encasing them. This also speaks to the era they are from. Each is an intimate extension of a story from another time, tempted into another existence today.