Kwaidan: The Black Hair

I learned how to take screen shots. Finally.

We watched Masaki Kobayashi’s Kwaidan¬†(1964) the other day. The stories and their theatrical visualization were really engaging, especially in the first three. The Black Hair had a moodiness to it that felt a bit gothic, but not merely for the sake of being “dark” and “creepy”. There were also some nice spatial relationships happening in quite a few scenes. My favourite part of it all was how his memory of his first wife was mostly confined to her work as a weaver, yet the lighting would change. When he was caught up in terror, the shape and colour of his terror changed rapidly. The hair, the separation of love and desire, the posturing of power, the decay from neglect, overgrowth, etc. are all old lovers. (As always, click image to view larger.)

In progress

I think what was suddenly so appealing about drawing when I was working on Between Two Thoughts was the momentum behind it, that it encouraged a continual push toward the edges. And I could work very intuitively. I could just pick up a piece of paper and a pen and work for hours, until I was literally falling asleep and drooling on my drawing, and then wake up and do more.

Now I’m trying to see how that translates into painting and colour, which add certain complications. Especially while trying to see this Horse.


it’s not for you to know

I’ve never actually ridden a horse, and have only on a few occasions stood near one. The closest I have come to a horse is an elephant, which was quite a thing, but not the same thing as riding what you imagine in your little girl brain to be your bestest soulmate friend ever. It’s a cliche. I know. And I could list all the ways that I have challenged ideas about gender and “went my own way”, or whatever. It seems a bit defensive.

Truth be told, when I eventually ride a horse for the first time, I may cry my eyes out.

In the meantime, we all dream and I try to understand my piano.

illuminate this

Yesterday I spent a few hours in the ETSU library with Robert. He did his chemistry homework and I looked at art book – illuminated manuscripts, Hodler, Velazquez, El Greco, Zurbaran, de Lempicka, and Jenny Saville. While scanning pages from an old sketchbook the day before yesterday, I was reminded of how northern Renaissance painters influenced my work. I was interested in the structure – multi-paneled sections of narrative – but also in the visual tools used to explain intangible¬†occurrences. Although most people would probably cite contemporary references for Between Two Thoughts, I’m convinced that on some subconscious level the appeal of earlier ideas were still present.

So this brought me to illuminated manuscripts, which remind me of so many other things. (Click on images to view larger.)

Plus, there’s Mary Magdalene and SATAN in the manuscripts. (I feel the need to say SATAN in all caps because of how I actually say the word. When referring to the Devil seriously, I use his other names. SATAN is only for jest. That’s the kind of relationship we have.)

Oh, and of course, there were horses and dogs everywhere.

My camera battery died before I could record more images, but I plan to track down certain paintings online. Or return to them in the library some other time. I sketched out as much as I could. Mostly monsters and figurative compositions.