Friday, January 22, 2010


I  left these drawings in my basement which is generally dry but with humidity  they got a bit water damaged, so I decided to photograph them.

Charcoal, chalk on manilla 15"x18"

Life is a balancing act and so is still life,  movement versus stability and always the possibility of movement within stability -  even in the case of  still life where inanimate objects seem to rest unperturbed for eternity. The best we can hope for with still life as with life as with art, is to arrest the ravages of time – to preserve the celebration of the moment or moments – keeping in mind that the eye lacks the shutter speed of a leica.

Still life arrangement on bond, pencil, charcoal, roughly 13"x16"

Still life study on manilla -  pencil with chalk - 15"x18"


  1. Sorry to hear about the water damage. I had the same kind of thing happen this summer when the room air conditioner leaked water down through my paper cabinet. Yikes. I'm just glad that you were able to save yours.

    These are all excellent drawings. The last one, in particular, is full of energy and suggestive of cubism. I'm seeing Braque. More awe...!

  2. Hi Melinda
    Since last night I’ve been too distracted by having had one of our bicycles stolen at the university while my husband was at a lecture –(a Marinoni racing bike) to think clearly about anything else except that. But I’m starting to calm down now, a bit, we both are.
    Now back to materials issues. So we are both victims of damp paper. But you say water leaked into your paper cabinet last summer. That is dreadful! How extensive was the damage? Were you able to salvage any work, did you have supplies of expensive paper affected like Fabriano Roma? These incidents are very, very upsetting – I know only too well. One of the things that makes oils and acrylics so attractive is their toughness and imperviousness to non gentle, no nonsense handling. Paper on the other hand is delicate, but I do love it.
    Thank you Melinda for your understanding and very kind comments.
    Xo Marcia

  3. Marcia LaBelle,

    I am so sad to hear about David's bike, and so
    sorry you are upset. Your drawings however are
    lovely. Damp and basements a super frustrating
    combo. My baby photos and slides were in a very leaky garage. Sad. True about acrylic, oil and canvas. Super true. Mine is the medium of the environmentally besieged, damp, soot, soaring heat,freezing cold. Love your work,and your blogging mania super duper writing.


  4. wow, Marcia this is what i call movement in still life, captured in art. i agree with all you say in your post.... maybe that is why we love art?

  5. Oh, dear. I am very sad to hear of the loss of your bicycle, Marcia. Wretched, wretched, it is. It hits right at our core when someone takes something of meaning to us. I know it's not about the money so much as it is about the violation. I do hope that you can replace it, or that it will come back to you soon.

    The water damage that my worked suffered was really my fault. I had tilted the room air conditioner downward so that I would get better air flow in the studio, which would have been alright normally. However, during our monsoon season, the humidity rises and the little air conditioner filled with water. It poured down the wall and over my print cabinet, slowly working its way through layers of paper...

    My water damage was distressing, but only some early work was trashed and I was able to let them go. There were a few important monotypes from work on the university press (super large scale) that had corners damaged, but I would never sell them anyway. And, they can be re-matted and framed (The work was on good paper, but I don't recall if they were Fabriano or merely BFK Rives).

    We've worked very hard to protect the artwork as much as possible ever since my painting professor told of her water damage problem. She'd had installations which had been exhibited nationally--totally ruined. Very disheartening.

    But, just knowing that we can go forward with our work, despite accidents and trouble, means all the world to us, yes?

    Wishing you peace and calm and good fortune ahead.

  6. Hi Barbara
    I got it out of my system partly by using good basic English language - which is what good basic English language is for. I felt like a miserable wretch for a few days but am raring to roll up my sleeves and get down to business once again.
    Thank you for your support and sympathy. You are a dear, sweet friend!

  7. Rahina
    I’ve been slow to get back to you because I’ve been avoiding the blogging world for a mild stretch as it were.
    Yes I think that I agree with you agreeing with me and all the ambiguities that that might entail. Forgive me if I'm not quite coherent. Obviously something I'll have to work on.
    It actually took me a long time to enjoy working on still life – it wasn’t until after I could approach it as movement of planes in space as opposed to a description of things, that I could relax and feel some energy for it.

  8. Melinda, your words are very comforting. If I step back I see that I’m not unique in having misadventure etc, nevertheless wisdom is a parallel function or faculty and has no power to mitigate a tailspin in its full swing – but certainly rational thought helps restores balance and equanimity so that one can indeed move forward.

    virtual hugs

  9. I love the bottom one, a sneak look into the corner of someone else's life.

    I'm enjoying your blog very much and hope to comment on more posts in due course.