Getting Something Down on the Page

November 19, 2021
Dried out brush pen in a Hahnemühle Travel Journal. No glasses and a lot of scribbling without looking at the paper.

This is a sketch from 2020. I was four months out from the second cataract surgery and I think I’d already had one secondary operation to zap some cloudiness. (But it didn’t resolve any of the double vision issues.)

I was frustrated early one morning, unable to sleep. I scribbled. It felt great to get something down on the page.

Does this look like Clive Owens—in some centurion movie or something?

In some really vague way maybe it does.

But for me getting something down on the page far exceeds the likeness issue, because I was working without glasses and without looking at the paper. 

Sure I’d look down once in a while, but 95 percent of the time I was just moving the pen around to feel for the shapes, and I’ve done this for so long (albeit with occasional peeks), that the drawing actually worked better than if I’d been stressing and looking at the page with my bad vision trying to find the exact, correct line.

This was the day, in the midst of the great switch in my life, that I realized I’d done enough drawing on thousands of pages and sheets, that I could draw with muscle memory, without clear or precise vision. I could still get something down on the page.

If you stand back far enough it does sort of begin to look like Clive Owens in some centurion movie or something.

To me this drawing looks like hope. Not for a return to something which isn’t possible. But hope for something new. Something that’s coming. And something new is always coming.

I guess that’s what all those thousands of pages have always been about. Day in and day out. A life on pages.

And that’s the best reason to get something down on the page.

    • Kathleen Harte Gilsenan
    • November 21, 2021

    This is so inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Reply

      Thanks for writing to let me know this meant something to you. I appreciate it.

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