Finding the middle by starting at the ends

This is a series of drawings I recently did for a presentation about the extremes I’ve experienced in my life. They’re all drawn right in my sketchbook with ink and brush. Each is about 7″x10.” The stories are beneath each drawing.

page12When I was two, my parents found me walking on the foundation of our new house before it was built. My mother had to carefully talk me down. I’ve always imagined this image as symbolic for my life. Being willing to walk up to the ledge and look out. Strangely I’ve always been scared of heights.

page7This image describes a comforting ritual I have when I go swimming. I spend as much time underwater as I can. I think it’s a desire to return to the womb sometimes during my busy life. I come up long enough for a breath and then dive to the bottom over and over.


I plug my ears in the shower sometimes and close my eyes for the thunderous sound and warmth of the water to quiet my overstimulated nervous system. Also womblike.


Ever since I can remember, I’ve enjoyed sleeping while someone is vacuuming in the next room. It’s partly because it’s nice not to have to be doing chores, but also because it’s such a nice sound. 


This is the opposite of calm, where I fell on my shoulder and neck during an unfortunate backscratcher attempted while skiing off a jump. I caught my tips I think.

page21This image describes a moment when I was trying to rewire the electric box for my kiln. Two 220 wires touched together and exploded like a gun shot. It terrified me. I took a shot of gin and carefully replaced the wires back in their sockets. I’d thought I’d turned off the main power, but I had not. This is why I draw now. Probably the closest to death I’ve come since the wires were so close to my fingers that my forefinger had smoke on it. yikes!


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One response to “Finding the middle by starting at the ends

  1. Barbara Jo

    I knew about the wall walk, the vacuum cleaner (ditto for me), and the ski crash with ensuing shoulder pain … but there must be a five year rule somewhere on the electric box. Yikes! I love the washed drawings made to work with the song and have an amazing coincidence to report: The night of your birthday I dreamt obsessively about an incidence some summers ago where a Hmong fisherman’s motor died on his little fishing boat on the Mississippi and he began drifting closer and closer to the Ford Dam in St. Paul. Major rescue effort. I think they finally let the boat just go over. Because water depth and water power overwhelms me anyway, when that image comes at night I simply cannot shake it. I find it amazing that you posted the drawings the next day. There’s a lot of life and experience in your work, so cleanly and simply depicted. Mom

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