I am always fascinated by the human mind and what it is capable of, with an obvious and particular interest in the trance-like state of creation. The tingling I get in the back of my neck as I become immersed in the world of a story I am writing, or the way I snap back into reality to step back and observe the drawing I just created - these are all inexplicable experiences that enrich an otherwise mundane existence.
One of my most amazing and enlightening experiences occurred to me during my 3rd year of college, in a Layout & Design class taught by the great Donald Poynter. As a typical self-absorbed twenty one year old (at the time) I drew only whatever I'd always drawn. Big breasted women, with long, wild hair. Perhaps this was a therapeutic visual, the process by which I examined my own insecurities. Under many of the teachers at SVA, I was forced out of my comfort zone.
I'd never been really interested in drawing landscapes. Nature was foreign to me, as a born and raised Brooklynite. I was however, interested in composition. And though I would not call myself a photographer, per se, I have a habit of keeping a digital camera on hand to take pictures of interesting compositions of the world around me.
The end of semester assignment came, where we had to complete a myriad of landscapes in varying sizes and mediums, and again, like the average twenty one year old, I waited until the last minute to complete the bulk of the work. I turned to pictures I had taken at the Bronx Zoo and Prospect Park for inspiration.
(more on my website: www.caressesingh.com)
By 4 or 5 in the morning, I got sick of working in tight lines using pencil. I whipped out some watercolors. At first, I over-thought it and applied a base pencil drawing before using watercolors to "fill in the lines." I employed this technique twice - one came out alright, the other, came out very muddy.
Even more frustrated, I attacked the third watercolor in a different manner. I shut off my brain, I did no base drawing, and I just let my hand do what it wanted. The result was this:
Out of the bunch I created in this assignment, this watercolor was both mine and Poynter's favorite. It was the pure result of muscle memory. Like being in the Hyperbolic Chamber of some Dragon Ball Z episode, my hands worked for nearly 24 hours learning the contours of clouds, the way landmass forms, and the way water reflects. Without any direct reference, this piece is a true representation of something that came out of me, and for that I am forever in debt to Donald Poynter.