Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hand-drawn Conclusions- Part 2


The need for closure is universal. Recognizing the conclusion to a period of days or weeks of working with your hands is uniquely gratifying. Yet many activities don't allow for the registering of the actual moment when something is finished. Our daily routine at home and at work can seem almost relentlessness at times. We need to be able do some things every now and then that clearly get finished. Even in wall building, on a long job particularly, it can be difficult to tell when the project is actually completed, what with clean up and removal of the left over stone, or just the knowledge that you still need to come back to add more sections to it here or there.

Conclusion is something more likely to happen if there is a focus, a special element to the project, that you can pace the rest of the work around. If we have introduced into the wall design an interesting stile, or niche or small arched opening, the finishing of the other parts of the project will often be coordinated to coincide with its completion, and so, more than likely there will be this recognizable sense of closure. It is easy to appreciate what you have done when everything comes together this way in a kind of walling crescendo, particularly if there are a number of people working together on the last day. The cleaning up can coincide with the last touches on the wall, so that everything seems to work to this end.

This is usually the time all the cameras come out. While we perceive that the look of the wall has not changed drastically over the final few hours of our working on it, and we all know that it is not going to magically disappear at any moment, there is nonetheless a point when it just seems right to stop everything and take pictures. This is the moment when a wall stops being an event and becomes an 'actuality'. It feels to some extent like the wall has just been born.

While it is very satisfying to be there to appreciate the point when this transition happens, there can, in some cases, be another opportunity to appreciate this phenomena. That is when you are fortunate enough to see it for the first time (again) in a painting or drawing. Through the artist's eye it is as if we are allowed to see what has been 'created' at the very moment of its 'becoming'.

The painting in the photo below is a watercolour an artist did for our client of a dry stone enclosure we built in the backyard of a property in Oakville Ontario several years ago. It represents, to my mind, not just the actual 'enclosure' but the 'conclusion' of the event - a hand drawn conclusion to the whole process of working with one's hands.

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