Making my “Silver Lake Suitcase”

The week of June 15, I had a treat–I took an experimental drawing workshop at MCAD.  So fun!  We started with a sketchbook; but not your old familiar pencil-drawings-only one…no!  This one could be anything–all kinds of media, and even sticking things in there that you pick up on your walks.

I started with birch leaves and trees, but soon was turning the shapes into scarlet petals,

Silver Lake Blog 1

then cut-outs of birch trunks, then writing my dreams in there, adding pages, carrying through the lines with thread…

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…and by the time we went to Silverwood Park the next day, I had a bunch of pages already.  At the park, we drew some blind contours, then tried to draw the feeling of textures of the grass and leaves. Next I drew damselflies on the water, then the water and weeds around them, and then…bam!

I was leaning over the bridge to look at a turtle stuck in the surface green glop when I discovered how fabulous the water itself was. (Shannon Brunette said it looked kind of dreamy) On the surface was reflected the blue sky and clouds, and then there were the gloppy green surface weeds that looked like thickened cloud clusters, and then beneath the surface the murky dark with shadows of fish and seaweeds.

All the layers at once:

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I took some photos and began drawing the cloudy green clusters, then the strings and tangles of stuff on the surface, and painting the colors and their interactions.

Next step: make a drawing on something 3-D, so I chose a suitcase, of course–a little red one.  What I did for the next day or two was interpret the layers of Silver Lake–the luminous sky reflections, the clouds of greenish glop and seaweeds, and the darker mysterious depths in papers, paint, drawing, fabrics, and thread, inside and outside the suitcase.

I used my sketchbook to help me. I had a great conversation with my tablemate Bethany who was working in a stricter minimalist mode–in black and white rectangles and lines.  I decided to add our conversation right into the suitcase–as a grid of black string that represents her structured approach. I like how the grid kind of holds the looseness in place, and marks out a clearer view of surface and depth.

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Silver Lake Suitcase!  by Susan Armington

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