Ask Jenny

As Flower as Fiction

September 25, 2017

Drawing is freestyling. I won’t draw exactly what I see, because that’s really hard. I’ll mimic its style, how I see the overall shape, how the light generally falls. But the actual, specific outlines—those details I forego.

Each petal is, in a way, made up. I look at it once and draw it from that snapshot, that memory. Flowers are fleeting figments. All the stems and leaves are of my mind, not necessarily reality. Shadows go where I think they go. Dark spots by whim. In this drawing, I had to curve the flowers at the top downwards to fit on the page, and squish the sunflower a bit too.

Creative work inherently is fiction because we must digest the world first in order to spit it back out as art. I took in straight flowers with good posture. I spit them back out curved and crooked. And when we spit the world back out, it isn’t reality: it’s our take on reality.

Do you ever tell someone a story and change it because of convenience? Like, this person I’m talking to doesn’t know this character, so I’m gonna bend the truth a little to simplify the character so it’s easier to tell? Do you ever sing a song you love but change up the riffs or key to fit your voice a little better, making it up as you go? If so, tell me: how does realism exist if everything we do is inaccurate mimicry?

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