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Drawings of Sara

ArtAscent 2013: October V3 GOLD PRIZE WINNER


Lost in thought and oblivious to those around him, Simon held tight to the grab rail, swaying in empathetic motion to the gentle pitch and roll of the metro-train, hugging the rail or gripping it tersely as it lurched around curves and bends. Curves and bends . . . Simon thought pensively of the contents of the portfolio clutched in his hand, its cracked leather handle creaking in unison with his arthritic knees.


Drawings of Sara. Sultry charcoal and conte, stark pen and ink, soft and secretive pastels. The drawings accumulated over the full and many years of their relationship; Sara's naked, posed body mapping the journey of their aging lives together.


The pen and ink drawings were done in the early years. Sara's body lean, spare, and angular; Simon's renderings quick, gestural, and spontaneous. Their expectations of each other were exacting and unforgiving. Lines were drawn that demanded perfection, that gave no room for error.


As they grew closer and older and delved more deeply into each other, Simon gradually turned to charcoal. It was a time in their lives when lines could be smudged, when the shape of their feelings for each other could be suggested, when Sara's body - thickening with child - needed the kindness of a softer touch, a softer medium. Simon ardently applied the charcoal and conte to paper - his hot fingers smudging the lines and melting the shapes into each other.


In their last years together, Sara grew dark and broody. He wished to gift her with light. Her body now grown heavy and marked with life's erosion and age, he drew her in soft pastels - rendering her lighter, brighter, and softer. Washes of colour hid the pocks and marks of an aged body. Lightness of hand forgave the heavy, sagging lines.


A lilting pseudo-female voice seeped into his thoughts and he heard his stop announced. He hefted the leather portfolio, the years of him and Sara, and prepared to disembark the train. It was only a three-block walk to the funeral home where Sara's body lay awaiting him one last time. This time he would draw her with subtle strokes of air - and love. 

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