Honesty vs Admiration

The tourists are beginning to return to the city, and if I leave the studio door open to get a bit of a cross breeze with the window, occasionally a lost meandering tourist will make their way to the third floor of the building, and wander into the open door, curious…
There are a total of 5 of us in our large loft room – a fashion designer whose layout tables and sewing machines and bolts of fabric crowd one big corner; a landscape painter with small children who I have yet to cross paths with, but the changing toys suggest she makes appearances at odd hours; a figurative painter who has been in the space for the longest, some 6 years now, and his corner is packed full of the large portraits and expressive experiments of those years; and then Nancy and I in our tiny corner by the door.
It is more of an entranceway than studio, our little corner, but in a city like Toronto, it is what we can manage between the 2 of us, and we love it.
Yesterday I was there with the door open, and given our space, it means I am essentially in the doorway, working away – a point of interest for the 3 tourists who stumbled down the hallway.
They were not especially shy, and after a brief invitation in, went straight into the depths, shrugging by the landscape painter without much notice, and burrowing into the tightly packed corner of the figurative painter. He has some large paintings of famous people out and about – a David Bowie still in progress, Rihanna drying in a corner – and there were ooh’s and aah’s from the 2 ladies in the group.
Turning back, they passed by the bolts of fabric and noticed Nancy’s tiny corner within the corner, a few of her gorgeous pieces up on the wall. The man in their group was especially taken with Nancy’s work and the 3 of them stood there for a while pointing and discussing details.

Beltaine by Nancy Gardiner
Beltaine by Nancy Gardiner

Midsummer by Nancy Gardiner
Midsummer by Nancy Gardiner

Finally they turned towards where I was working away in my section around the door, and after interrogating me on how they might get in touch with the figurative painter, if there was a card or a website, they looked around at my various scattered sketches and experiments, and tried to find something nice to say.
One of the women focused on the wall of sketches, and said, “well, they are certainly well drawn”, as if relieved she had found some point of concession – she could grant me that at least.
The horse sketches are on terraskin paper, a treeless stone paper, so I told them about this, and then of course they wanted to touch it, and we focused on surfaces and textures for a while, as I showed them which ones were terraskin, which ones mylar.
The large bat that dominates one wall right now is oil on mylar, and one of the ladies said, “he looks like he… I don’t know, as though he has a purpose of some kind.”
Processed with VSCO with g3 presetMy eyes grew wide, as it occurred to me I HAD painted her with a purpose – she was a dream messenger, one of several bat dreams, and so given the repeated bat imagery, asking for attention, I’d been spending time drawing and painting the dream characters, honouring them, staying with them, listening to them as best I can.
What exactly the bat is about, what she wants to say, I still don’t know…
bat feet
But in there, in the intense focused silence of creating the images, of repeated bat drawings and paintings, I think about the strangeness of them – as if little tiny mice that one day got fed up and said, Dangit! I want to fly!
And did.
And maybe that thought is all she really needs to say…
bat fly down
And so this one comment from a stranger, not filled with flattery at all, but with a kind of faintly uncomfortable, honest relating to the image, totally made my day…

Weekly Photo Challenge – Admiration

18 thoughts on “Honesty vs Admiration”

      1. I love bats. I was browsing your blog, scrolled down this post, and the bats caught my attention. I too draw what I receive intuitively. I drew a bat picture once, but he had closed wings. I use to see bats frequently as a child. They never scared me, always intrigued me, and still do. I enjoyed your post 🙂

  1. I like your work. The horses are lovely, thoughtful. You are definitely talented. Art is very personal. I would not be drawn to abstract or paisley designs.

    1. Thank you!
      Yes, it is ALL about personal taste and interests.
      I admit, I don’t mind paisley designs… 🙂
      But on the other hand, that isn’t what I’m called to draw.

      1. Be true to your call and you will find your greatest joy and purpose. The Lord uniquely designed you. There is no one quite like you. He has made you for praise and worship and joy and dancing and freedom to rise above all other molds to show how brilliant and beyond awesome He is! ♡

    1. Thank you, James – drawing and painting is where most of my creative time is going these days, so more should be forthcoming… ☺

  2. I love the bat sketches. I love the purpose of them, giving them life from a dream you had. There’s been so many times I’ve done tried to sketch a dream, but somehow never fleshed it out enough or as much as I should have.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed the visit, following you following the visitors… Your horses move with poetry and something else. Grace, kindness (the eyes) and poetry I feel.
    Bats fly blind and get where they want to go…. You know that. They leap and let go.
    Not so easy to do with the certainty of the visual.
    Your bats soar and plunge like eagles… They may be sightless but not without vision.
    You are a generous soul, Kat.

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