I realized that I probably should clue you in on why I keep refering to "purpeck". I wrote a feature story for Jane Dunnewold's Art Cloth Quarterly about "Arual and Friends". These were the names that I had given to those "little voices" that we all contend with on a daily basis. I am going to "re-print" the story on "purpeck".
PURPECKMs. Dally has been very busy collaborating with her friends these past few months to find ways of detouring my studio time into “grandma time”. She seemed to think it would be an excellent idea for me to have my grandchildren, Ragen who is 3 years old and Sarah 11 months old, visit with me several times but most importantly over a long four day weekend. I argued with her about all the projects that needed to be worked on and how behind I was on them. I might as well have been talking to a brick wall! She knew that I could not resist those angelic little faces and all she would have to do is just remind me how much I enjoyed them – well that and having Ragen ask me as only she can do “Dawa, I need come Dawa’s house…..peas” Of course that sweet little voice was all it took to brake my commitment to studio time. Here I am thinking that I have lost a whole four days of work and how much farther that would put me behind in the projects that I have lined up. Then the hurried-ness and “must-get-dones” just seemed to melt away when I opened the door and Ragen ran up the walk with such excitement yelling “Dawa, Dawa” and gave me a big hug and kiss and then Sarah reaching out for me with her little face lighting up with a grin from ear to ear.
Ragen, the 3 year old, has her own area in my studio and is a regular visitor there. She knows where her paper and scissors are as well as her paints, crayons and markers. She has gotten the fine art of cutting tiny little pieces of paper down pat. Her bright blue eyes just sparkle when she gets to “kuck” her papers with her own scissors. Today she asked me to sit down beside her and help her “kuck” papers and draw. In sitting with her and watching her create I was amazed at her confidence and deliberation. She would carefully select a colored piece of paper and just the right colored marker then proceed to make marks on the paper. With each stroke she would stand back, put her hands on her hips, cock her head to one side, look intently at the mark and exclaim “purpeck”! Then continue with the next mark. After each mark she made on the paper she would stand back and pronounce the mark “purpeck”. She told me her story about the “bad guy” and “Nemo” and of course the “mermaid” with “purpeck” strokes of her marker and confidence in her abilities. Now if you asked an adult to describe what she had drawn they would be at total loss to decipher what she was showing them. Why should there be any question as to what those little marks at the bottom of the “bad guy” were – of course they were his “dibing soup”. To her innocent 3 year old eyes her drawing told her story and it was perfect.
While watching her that day I wondered at what point in my life did my marks stop being “purpeck” to me? What changed in me to diminish my confidence and the deliberation of making perfect marks each and every time?
I’m realizing that perhaps Ms. Dally knew what she was doing and this was not “lost time”. As I thought about Ragen and her purpeck marks I decided that MY eyes and MY mind will see each mark that I make as “PURPECK”. There may be an adult out there that has no clue as to what MY marks are saying but they tell MY story to me and are PURPECK. I’m thinking that maybe we should all be making “purpeck” marks.
Ragen is now 6 years old and still has that confidence about her "purpeck" marks. And while she is very confident about her marks, I am still working on mine. I am getting better and am beginning to like a lot more of my work - but still have those occasional marks that go into the circular file as they are not "purpeck" to me.