When I read the Daily Create assignment (#632) for today, one of my initial thoughts was that I wanted to resist the temptation for using digital media. I was instead moved to create something physical/tangible (and perhaps photograph or scan it). I instantly acknowledged I had a desire to draw. My second thought was that I need to get started on these daily creates way early in the day because once I head to the office, I can’t get to it until after we’ve put our girls to bed and the household chores are (as) done (as they’re going to get). Considering I’m Jewish and Jews begin the day at sundown, I’m fairly confident that midnight deadlines don’t apply to me.
And my third (and contradictory) thought — just now — is this, having a whole day to percolate an idea and not act on it is a sweet incubator for art.
Between my second and third thought, there was little additional thought; mostly action. This is how it went down:
I reflected on the idea of maps and going places and alternate routes and I was just really in a cerebral space today so any attempt to think about going to a location just wasn’t sticking for me. I didn’t want to be too cutesy or clever. I eventually came around to thinking about how people arrive at conclusions, make judgments, render criticism and all manner of “closure” without acknowledging that they have options when they try to make things so certain. These choices have emotional consequences, they impact trust, and they can really tire us out. Yet, of course and in their own way, all of these routes do serve a purpose.
With my theme in mind, I resolved not to go with premade photos. Yet, with the evening closing in, my drawing skills and confidence waning, I made a concession. I thought if I could find a picture to help me along, even just to trace or sketch from, I’d be okay with that. I brought up Google Image Search and looked for images matching “cliffs” and “fog” (my original sketch incorporated fog) and then “needle cliffs.” This last one turned up some amazing photos of a cliff in Northern France near Étretat. I went to Creative Commons Search looking for similar images on Flickr and scrolled down hoping for a good pic. Many of them were lovely, in color and far away; obviously by tourists trying to capture the breathtaking enormity of the cliffs, but fortunately, I found an image that was so crisp and stark, in black & white no less, that it just pinched my brain. I was moved to leap to that cliff out there. It compelled me to actually open up Google Earth to try and zoom in on it. I found it and checked out much of the coast of Northern France…for my next wish I…but I digress.
I took the image and got one of the larger sizes because I wanted detail even though I knew I was going to modify the contrast, but I wanted to start with a good amount of detail. I opened the image up in MS Picture Manager even though I’ve got a few good image managing software packages (including Adobe Photoshop) but this is the one I know how to use quickly…and, man, the night is almost over. I flipped the image into reverse to approximate the original sketch I made. My secondary go-to for image manipulation (until I take the time to become more sophisticated) is actually MS Word (Artistic Effects) and I use the format picture menu to apply some interesting filters. In this case, I went with Crisscross Etching, holding the contrast at “normal” to keep those great details and dialing up the brightness to +20; a little lighter than I desired but I wanted to ensure I could draw over it once I printed it out with enough image retained so it was immediately apparent we were looking at a bluff and a cliff.
With my base image, and a crazy compulsion to repeat the image of a parachute jump that I used on the Daily Create the day before, I had my canvas. At this point, I took my sketch, a limited selection of markers and found the most comfortable spot in the house not already occupied by a cat. No process to report here; I just had joyful time completing my map and adding little details and nuanced meanings to the overall map-message, complete with hyperlinks. There are a total of five alternate routes to a conclusion. One point worth mentioning is that the original impetus of this project was the notion that people jump to conclusions and yet I “completed” my work (or so I thought) and almost uploaded it to Flickr before I noticed that I did not include “jumping to a conclusion” as an option. Touch up ensued.
Now that I think about, concluding in itself is just another option.