Ballo dell'alba

Ballo dell'alba (Dance of Dawn) © Jen Norton

(reposted from my former blog) Over the last several years, I have developed this method of drawing with my left hand, free-forming shapes that later become content and parts of other shapes. Sometimes I use this technique to begin a painting. Sometimes I use it to “fix” a painting. Either way, I love the result….the almost mathematical, yet chaotic way that the shapes connect together to create form and content. Organic, tribal…it fascinates me like a PBS special on “String Theory” (yes, I’m geeky). Because it is a very intuitive way of drawing, I can never achieve the same results twice. Sometimes I stand back from a finished piece and think, “Wow, I pulled it off!”. But you know, whenever you get too high on your own horse, God has a way of gently reminding you that He is in control, and His ways are not ours. Such was the case one day when I found myself cleaning my garage….

I came across a drawing my brother Mark had done in high school and given to me. Mark is 10 years younger than I, and has always been fascinated with special effect movies, big-time wrestling and 80s music. We don’t have much in common. He can be focused, obsessed, unwavering…OK, we have a few things in common. In this particular drawing, he had rendered the “Bat Cave”, with in his own personal vision. I had received it graciously, on the surface, and had tucked it among my “old college art”. There it remained hidden for over 20 years, until I was ready to truly receive the gift. So, years later, here I am re-discovering my brother’s work on a hot dusty, garage-cleaning day. It has a familiar feel to my current work…organic shapes, slightly off-kilter patterns that could be seen as chaotic, but that work together. Underlying order. Symmetry. Beauty. Something I have discovered myself, after years of searching. Somehow my brother figured it out way before me. There’s something else I should tell you about Mark. He has Down Syndrome.

Bat Cave by Mark Duris

The Bat Cave © Mark Duris