One of the reasons I wanted to draw and sketch was to be able to remember. I wanted to be able to have an image in my head and faithfully transcribe it to paper so other people could see was I saw. I wanted to be able to sketch in case I didn’t have a camera. Besides, cameras don’t always get it right.
Mom’s apartment no longer exists. I arrived there, in New Jersey on February 7, 2015 in anticipation of her 90th birthday. The party was on the 8th and while I was lounging around, I took a look at an oh-so-familiar corner of her living room and began what I estimate to be, my umpteenth sketch of it. I used my traveling watercolor set to produce this:
One addition to the corner was the wheel chair, which was not present the last time I was there.
After the party, and my return to California, I had to return since Dave, my younger brother told me that she was in the hospital and not doing well at all. She died shortly after I arrived, in the early morning hours of February 20.
The only items still extant in Mom’s apartment are those outlined in solid pen-and-ink lines: the lines between the floor and the walls, the line made by the intersection of two walls and the lines made by the folding doors. Everything else is gone. Dave and I emptied it in one week of intense work.
When I concentrate, I can conjure up images of the living room from different view points, even a video tour of the apartment. How long is that going to last?
I used to take so many pictures of points of interest from so many angles that I could reconstruct, not just a panorama, but a Hockney-esque collection of snaps glued together forming, in one image, different angles, views, points of interest and even different times of day. Perhaps I did this because I didn’t trust my own memory and needed validation. With more confidence in my sketching and drawing abilities, I hope to convey the impressions or feelings I have about a place by means of my own hand.
I hope that through my sketches and watercolors, I can bring back visual nostalgia of physical places that no longer exist in the world and emotional nostalgia of what they meant.