Friday, November 2, 2007

when i just want your heart to beat beside mine

Since last weekend i've been [re]working on this altered book. Thought that it would be a quick wrap-up with just a few pages to touch up here and there. But as it is often the case, you change one thing, something else becomes a bit off and you have to fix that, and then before you know it, it is a domino effect of things to tend to. So the book is still in progress.

In the midst of working on it while waiting for some pages to dry, this sketch came about:

acrylic on graph paper, 30.4 x 15 cm

The lines are from the humidity and temperature readings printed out on graph paper cardstock. Discarded stacks of these readings that i salvaged from work. Maybe i will bind them into a book to sketch in. I like how the lines make me think of the heartbeat.

Last night i caught a glance of the sketch and thought of John, of not being pissed at him anymore...the timeline in my head that i wanted him to live up to transformed into these two lines of heartbeats. I thought of us, of how these are like our hearts beating side by side, closely in sync and in tune with one another...

And i think of those that no longer have a pulse, of K's whose no longer in motion with the universe...but they have before, and maybe that is at least good enough to hold onto for now...

And i imagine how at one point or another, each of us must have our hearts beating at the same pace and rhythm as one other person in the world. maybe someone from the other side of the country or across oceans and seas...


  1. Mien, what you wrote has really moved me. The image of hearts beating in sync is so evocative.
    And these squiggly pulsing graph lines, they are beautiful and I love the idea that when you looked at them you had an epiphany about you and John. Isn’t it wonderful to be surprised/caught unawares by our own art and led to learn something about ourselves?
    And from John and you to K. and then to all mankind - that you stopped with the idea of everybody’s heartbeat being in tune with another person’s somewhere sometime is lovely and I wished we all thought like that more, focussing on what connects us and not so much what divides us. In your work, in what you write there is always that beating heart, in every image that I’ve marvelled at and been touched by, the drawings of your sister, the wounded wing-painting, those little clay-creatures, the crying girl.
    Apropos wings, folded or not: Strangely for a moment I saw wings in these two graph-lines too. Am thinking about two things: I saw a painting at the National Gallery some years ago, think it might have been by Greco, where the wing of one of the angels is shown from its thin side, vertical, i.e. not the breadth and splendour of the wing but the very sharp almost brutal line that the length of the wing draws, if you see what I mean. So for an instant I saw two wings like that, being a person who sees wings everywhere, or maybe it’s because we share an interest in wings. The second thing I thought, and I like this better, is that the graph-lines describe the tiny flutter of wings that are still, the wings’ pulse so to speak.
    And I’ve just looked at the book you’re altering - you know I see wings in that drawing too, a very tired angel who has taken off her dark wings and holds them wearily in her lap. And the pink and grey brushstrokes covering some of the pages, I imagine feathers having brushed them on.

  2. what a beautiful post.
    i was initially drawn in by the paper, the image, so beautiful, and yes, a book of those pages would be fantastic. but it was your words that really kept me here, reading more than once. i love it when you and marjojo speak, it always means something to me, sets me thinking in a good way. you both have a clarity and way with words that i wish i admire and enjoy.

  3. Wow, very deep Mieny! Makes me like it even more to hear the thought process.

  4. the heartbeat, the heartbeat...keeping us alive...I'm more seeing it in approach and detach, to come and go, to inhale and exhale...the great big constant moving wave. I believe that even two loving souls would forget about each other if they would move in a constant distance...even very close to each other....
    but Mien...these are wonderful thoughts and you striked the right chord in me!!

  5. Mien has always been all about the heart, for as long as I've known her. But better than that, she's always been fearlessly well-spoken about it, too.

  6. yay! you got it, did they survive okay? You can cut the strips that hold them in place, that was just for transportation.

    When you put up this post I laughed a little because T works with hearts (ultrasound) and if I find myself in his office I get to look at my own heart and vessels with his machine. Watching those values open and close is strange and mesmerizing.

    I love this pair, how different they are individually and yet so companionable. The space between them is just right. I love the idea of a bound book of them and marjojo's reading of them as wing edged and flutters.

    can't wait to see the renewed book you're working on.

  7. Hi Mien,
    I love seeing how it seems like so much of life is interconnected, and it seems like patterns that you see in one place you can find all over, when you start to look. I like how the delicacy of those lines says so much about the fragility of life, of hearts beating, and also the same with the fragility of wings (I guess I'm particularly thinking of butterfly wings, maybe because those lines are really fine, a bit like the lines of butterfly wings).
    I often get frustrated when I think something just needs a bit of tweaking, and then all of a sudden it's turned into a whole re-working, even though in the end I have a feeling it usually makes the work stronger.

  8. you have so many new links, I'm going to have fun looking through them all. thanks!

  9. Mien, today you sent me flying! Found your compilation of wings (for me!) and just had a quick look through as I couldn’t wait to see what you had chosen – a Wunderkammer of wings! (The exclamation marks are flying here too.) Thank you, will spend time looking at everything in detail, follow links, marvel. And re: rereading comments – I sometimes print comments out and put them in my sketchbook, for rainy days.

  10. So The image alone was astounding in it's simplicity. Painting over the information that was not relevant made the writing all the more poignant than it already was.

  11. just saw your comments to me, thanks so much for taking the time.
    hey, i just spotted typo in my 1st comment here, meant to say...

    you both have a clarity and way with words that i admire and enjoy and wish i had.

  12. What beautiful thoughts. They match the beauty of your drawings.

  13. Mien, you know I love your work, so I won't say it again. Instead I have a book recommendatin for you. There is a new book about Josef Albers teaching techniques when he was at Yale and Black Mountain. It is titled, "Josef Albers: To Open Eyes". Take a look next time you are at the bood store, I have been working though some of his drawing exercises--and I think you will find them helpful to your process.