I didn’t really want to draw the TV. But I do watch it, and it is a part of my everyday life. So why not acknowledge it as such? Perhaps because it often brings scenarios into my home which I feel are divorced from my every day reality. In my contemplations I want to focus on what is real and tangible in front of me, and I tend to want to avoid difficult or unpleasant aspects of life.
This last week the TV news has felt more like a film script, and an unpredictable one at that. Executive orders, pronouncements, court rulings, white papers. Protests, prejudice, resignations, anger and fear. The politicians, celebrities and others I see on my TV screen may seem unreal, specious and false. But they are as real as I am, and driven by similar physical, psychological and emotional needs, even though their circumstances may be vastly different.
Today I watched and sketched a (rather inept!) picture of the TV, as two ordinary human beings met for the first time, watched by millions of other human beings, all with judgements, hopes and needs of their own. And I was reminded that as I watch them and others, I see myself…
“I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.”
Maya Angelou – Human Family
A rather weird drawing experience this morning. On impulse I got out of the chair I was sitting in, and looked at it, and decided to sketch it. This is where I have spent many, many hours writing my journal and my blog. This is the chair I have sat on while reading, researching and writing for my Masters in Creative Writing. And this month I have done most of my sketches sitting here.
An old second hand tub chair draped in a huge Indian shawl throw, given to me by a friend, I have it padded out with two mismatched cushions. One cushion is a patchwork of some of my favourite blue Kaffe Fassett fabrics, which I cut and peiced together with great care. Most days I don’t look at the cushion at all, I just sit on it and squash it out of shape, completely disregarding the time and effort I spent in making it.
But today I have looked with new eyes at the chair and the cushions which have been supporting me throughout those hours. I noticed the soft folds and subtle shapes of the throw and thought of the friend who gave it to me. I remembered the precision with which I cut the patchwork shapes for the back cushion, and recollected that the seat cushion was a sale bargain from Laura Ashley over thirty years ago. The chair itself was an eBay buy, with a previous life. This incongruous hotchpotch of things from the past, so often unacknowledged and unappreciated, is the trusty place which holds me secure as I sit and contemplate the day. It is far from empty…
This old chair is one of a set of six we have scattered around our house. They belonged to my maternal grandfather, I remember them from when we visited him as children.
We don’t use them much these days, they are a bit uncomfortable, sagging springs and joints that aren’t as strong as they were. But when I was younger I often sat on them round the tea table with my grandparents. I can remember twiddling the loose spindles on the back, and rubbing the smooth brass studs along the fabric edge, often impatient and wanting to run off and play. The sun always seemed to be shining through the windows when we stayed with them, although I also remember the excitement of snow when we visited them one Easter.
It’s strange where memories go; this old chair holds many of mine, mainly forgotten until I sat down and drew its shape this morning and found them reappearing like ghosts from the faded velvet covers.