The Artwork of Michael Divine




India Ink

September 22nd, 2007

The unforgiving nature of india ink is maybe what first drew me to the it. Dark, black, bold lines. It doesn’t take much. There is no transparency, subtle gradients are found in the proximity and thickness of the lines. Charcoal, watercolors, etc, they all allow for a kind of washing, gradating, never quite completely void of color. The india ink acts like a vacuum. In places it’s solidity creates a schism between the white purity of the drawing surface- smooth, slightly textured drawing paper, a light cream hue, soft and receptive. The black bold lines of the ink are confident strokes across it. There is no going back, no turning around, smudging a bit, nudging a tad… ink is permanent. Pencil can be erased, paint may be gone over but the paper and pen remain a permanent testament to whatever drips or missteps, whatever crisp assured lines are drawn there.

On a cool, not-quite-autumn day like today, where it has truly rained for the first time in months (not that pale blessing of a sprinkle that happened on my birthday late-August), these lines feel solid and sure. They feel cold and rigid. They feel decisive and absolute. Patches of blue dot the cotton thick cloudy sky and the yard and garden have experienced a much needed satiation that nature gives with it’s rain. How does the chlorine in the water help (or hinder) the plants? What does my hose water, come from the reservoirs, the water plant, lack that the rain water gives? Washing away late summer decay and mulching the soil in even drops, thirsty plants sucking up mid desert blessings.

The ink carves permanent lines upon the paper while the rain washes away in gradations the stifling heat of summertime, a heat which, itself, felt indelibly etched into my being. Now it lifts. Nothing is permanent.

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