You might know that long meeting, might have fought the urge to wriggle in your seat, bounce your shoe at the end of your toe, stare woefully into your empty coffee cup. The information is interesting, but really, how long can a person be expected to sit still?
Sometimes I’ll draw through the meeting. Portraits of the speaker, landscapes of the audience. I am paying attention to the meeting, honest I am, but I’m also learning about the lay of the workland.
I paint and draw mostly because it keeps me alive. It’s a compulsion, yes, but I believe it’s born of the need to interpret—no, actually translate the world into a language I can comprehend. So often the world in incomprehensible to me.
I’ve learned much about my bosses from sketching them. One of my bosses has a native good humor and kindness; I never saw it until I sketched her a few times and then I realized that specific turn of her lower eyelids that denotes a laughing nature, hey, that’s a permanent feature! I’ve learned much about my co-workers from placing them in the meeting landscape. What are the ideas that get them all sparkly, or make them slump like they’ve been filled with sand.
These drawings are just lined notebook paper. But sometimes that makes my hand more free. I don’t feel like my output has to be worthy of the quality of the paper.
Once I stumbled on an exhibit of drawings by David Siqueiros when I was in San Cristobál de las Casas in Southern Mexico. They were all on lined notebook paper that was yellowing with age (no, I am NOT comparing myself with Siqueiros-just pointing out that a master also used cheap, easily available materials, out of necessity, no doubt). They were still tremendously powerful, as if they’d been drawn by a person suddenly ignited with an idea. I’m wondering what long meeting he was sitting through when he drew them.