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Thursday 10 June 2010


 A while back I received an email relating to my Salome post. It was asking did I happen to have any other drawings I could post from the same set. As it happens, I have one or two done at about the same time, though not part of the series to which Salome belonged.

Then came another email saying that the writer had been surfing and had come upon the drawings in question. Furthermore, he had decided that one of the drawings was an illustration to Isaiah. He was not speaking of my blog, but a much older web site which I had thought defunct, not having been able to access it for a few weeks. And indeed, he then went on to say that he seemed no longer able to access it.

The following day I received a third email from another surfer who had hit upon my With Eyes Tight Shut (and here posts and was asking did it ever happen that when I closed my eyes I would see detailed naturalistic images which were not just memories of actual events or objects? Well, yes, as a matter of fact the drawing my previous emailer had thought was an illustration for Isaiah was just such an image seen - very vividly, as it happened - when I had closed my eyes on one occasion. It asked something else, too: do I have any theories about the connection, or lack of connection, between the images we see with our eyes closed and those we see in dreams?

Again, yes, though whether it is enough of a theory to satisfy my friend, I am not sure. I suffer from tinnitus, have done so ever since I went deaf in one ear. The consultant told me it was because the main aural nerve has been destroyed, either by a virus or a blood clot. No signals are reaching that ear, but nature, as they say, abhors a vacuum, so provides spontaneous signals. I guess it might be something similar when we close our eyes, although I realise that it cannot be that simple, as there are no complete images stored in the brain. One part deals with straight lines, another with curves, another with corners and so forth. So there must be some organising influence at work. Whether my "theory" suggests a connection or a lack of connection, I am not sure. The fact that I do sometimes see moving images might help the connection hypothesis.

So, the image above is (was) simply a recreation of a vivid image seen with my eyes closed. I say "was" because my emailing friend has not been the only one to associate it with Isaiah. A Methodist Minister friend once suggested that it would make an excellent illustration for Isaiah 3 16-26 which is concerned with the wanton luxury of women, which I found difficult to follow, for there is no wanton luxury attaching to the figures in my drawing. Doreen (my wife) does not like this image because she saw such images during a traumatic period of hallucinations caused by bacterial meningitis.

The image below is one from my (rather crude and naive) anti-war period.


@ctors Business said...

Not crude at all Dave far from it.
They are both very striking compositions. But I especially like the bottom picture for its simpler lines

The Weaver of Grass said...

Is there no end to your talents Dave - you draw as well?
I too have tinnitus - pretty annoying sometimes.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

"crude" and "war" cannot be divorced.

Kass said...

These images are fascinating and well-done. I like the way the soldier holds his gun somewhat haphazardly. What is your medium?

I used to see intricate fabric designs when I closed my eyes at night, but I never drew them. You're to be commended for following through on your visions.

Jim Murdoch said...

I also had bacterial meningitis. My brother had viral meningitis. We were exactly the same age when it happened so you can imagine how my parents felt when our sister reached the magic age. She survived unscathed. I have no recollections of any images from that time. Indeed I don’t ‘see’ images when I close my eyes other than blotches of light and dark. Maybe that’s where my strong connection to inkblots comes from.

I can’t say I like either of these images. Of the two I think the top one is the better from an artistic point of view but I can’t imagine displaying them. I suppose this brings into question, and maybe you might like to blog about this, when and where should art like this be displayed? I can see these as part of a collection in a gallery or in book but where did you see them ending up? Hanging in you hall? This is where I think the Internet works well in that you get to see the work in isolation (albeit in less than ideal conditions) but it can stand on its own; this works well for poetry too since most poems are standalone works like paintings but art can be changed by its framing and setting to a far greater extent than poetry.

Paul C said...

Does synchronicity of images have anything to do with Carl Jung's universal archetypes?

CiCi said...

Interesting that your wife associates the drawing with the horrible hallucinations. The ants on the body stand out to me but they don't seem worrisome. This is really good drawing, and I for one think drawing the human body is difficult. In the anti-war drawing, it looks like the soldier is holding the rifle in one hand and is going to put the rifle down.

Cloudia said...

You have talent!

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

Natalie said...

Sounds to me you are psychic, Dave.
Many psychics i know, (myself included) suffer from tinnutis and see 'images' with their eyes closed.

Ronda Laveen said...

The fluidity of lines and energy in the first one, I find appealing. Also, the clean lines of the second draw me, though, for very different reasons.

Karen said...

You are a man of much talent, Dave, and I think there's a place for disturbing art. Isn't art supposed to transport us? Who said it had to always be pleasant?

Dave King said...

Nice of you to say so, though I had actually in mind that the symbolism, if not the drawing itself, was crude. I still think it is, but it's good to know that you think the drawing is not. I'm still anti-war, by the way, but express it now in other forms.

Alas, I used to draw, a most annoying tremor of the arms makes that difficult these days. I keep experimenting with other approaches, but nothing I'd like to show as yet.

That is a valid point, of course - wish I'd thought of it!

Hahazardly is a good choice of word. I had wanted to depict a reluctant soldier. The medium for both drawings was Indian ink. In the soldier one the background is watered-down Indian Ink brushed on. The other drawing was outined in pen, after which the ink was put on in a number of different ways. Just experimenting, really. I used brush and pads of coarse sacking and all sorts.

We do seem to keep finding points of correspondence between us, do we not? You make a couple of excellent points. As I indicated to Kass, the drawings were something of an experiment. (The "Isaiah" one a coming together of an experimental period and a vivid image seen with my eyes closed - I had two such, the other a Blake-like figure high up above the choir in church when I closed my eyes for prayer. That one still haunts as the other did before I drew it.) At the time I had no thought of ever showing them publicly. Maybe to a small number of friends and family, certainly no more than that. It is the web, I suppose, that has made the difference. Surprising how it changes things - attitudes particularly.

I'm interested in your thoughts on the difference made by seeing a work in isolation and seeing it in a framing. I shall give that some thought.

Thanks for the comments.

Dave King said...

I wonder... I studied Jung a lot at one time and got very interested in the idea of Universal archetypes without ever quite getting to the point where I could see or sense how they might work. I still tinker with the idea, though.

I think the difficulty of drawing the human body lies in the standard that must be reached to be found acceptable. We (artists and non-artists) know to a considerable degree what the body looks like and sense at once if something is not right with it - much more so than we do with, say, a horse or a rabbit.

I am over the moon that you think the soldier is about to put his weapon down. That was the sort of thought I had hoped to convey.

Thanks Cloudia.

I'd know, wouldn't I, if I was psychic - or have I been missing a trick all this time? I agree that those two - what shall I call them, symptoms? - are associated with psychic powers, but I suspect there are others that I'm lacking. Thanks for the observation.

Thanks for those comments. Good to have.

Quite agree. I don't think art needs to be beautiful or uplifting. There's a place for those things, obviously, but it can sometimes - should sometimes - be disturbing.

Carl said...

Dave-Very interesting post and stunning images.

Unknown said...

You always surprise, Dave. The idea of large insects crawling over the body (any body) does disturb me and I wonder at your dark visions. The soldier is more immediately obvious and both are very good!

Dave King said...

Thanks for the compliments Carl.

Ah, I'm very chiaroscuro. Should have been my middle name.

Bossy Betty said...

Love both of these drawings!!

Dave King said...

Bossy Betty

Thanks Betty.

The Crooked Tongue said...

This is an interesting post and I have to say that I am very in Awe of your art.
I too have had my eyes closed and had images pop into my head. I only wish that I was talented enough to draw/paint them.