Friday, January 23, 2009

The Lively Geography of Being

I have been drawing maps of imaginary lands since I was 10 or 11 years old. These drawings are my most intimate doodles. When I feel like relaxing (Every 10 minutes these days), I put some nice mellow New Age music like Enya and go for my sketchbook and black ink pen. I am not a trained artist. I have no technique whatsoever but the enjoyment I get from doodling maps is enough reward. To truly enjoy this little known art form you must get acquainted with the emotional vocabulary of geography. So follow me on this little trek:

Islands are both relaxing and restorative, you need them to heal and to re-charge your batteries. Rivers are streams of joy and sorrow flowing freely to the calming sea. Coves are intimate like candlelight, misty afternoons and very old books. Peninsulas are always extending their mossy green arms into reconciliation and new opportunities. Mountains are your ideals, compasses for the heart. Meadows and swamps offer their insights on the trappings of the human mind. A careful constructed network of roads will make all the different areas of your map feel connected. I then name the towns and cities with words that sound both remote and earthy. It is then when the finished map becomes a realization. I wish you all many, many happy islands.

16 comments:

marc aurel said...

First:I love your blog. I too drew imaginary islands when I was quite young and have never quite given it up. Mine have no names, but sometimes do have contour lines. Get stoned and hover over Pacific islands on Google Earth, Mmmm. Once or twice a year I revert to being a hippy.

WV= enewtrde i.e. a new tirade

larkspur said...

This was actually one of our first projects in studio last year. It was to be based on a children's book from our childhood; we had to draw an illustrative map of the story using various landforms. You are an interesting guy. Check out my blog...you have been given a project!

The Pink Cowboy said...

Thank you Marc, interesting suggestion going into Gogle Earth in such state. Larkspur I will look into it :-)

willow said...

I knew we were simpatico. I used to love drawing imaginary maps. I would even dye them with tea to make them look old. (this sounds so geeky) I haven't drawn any in ages. Sounds very therapeutic! Don't forget the fancy NSEW!

Susan said...

Very, very cool ! I loved this post as I'm a map lover myself. I love the vocabulary and the idea of the Geography of Being ... totally.
I'm so glad I stopped by.

Do you have a set of coloured pencils? your maps would look beautiful with the addition of colour. I especially like Aquarelle pencils as they are water soluble and with a paintbrush you can easily blend the colours.

High Desert Diva said...

What a therapeutic project. Very creative, imaginative and fun. I like Willow's tea dying idea...

judy in ky said...

I came to your blog via Susan's comments. I just wanted to say, I have always loved islands and maps too. I grew up in the land-locked midwest and was never on an island until I was 14 years old. It just felt different, special, and I never forgot that feeling. I have visited many islands since and the feeling never goes away. I feel a sense of lightness and freedom. I hope to live on one some day.
One time I had a vivid dream about visiting Mars. It had been colonized and "terraformed" and in that dream world we found a complete set of maps that had been drawn, showing all the colonies and features of Mars. It was very detailed and fascinating. I have also obsessed over Tolkien's maps of Middle Earth, searching for the ruins and sites he mentions.

lejardengirl said...

I found you via Susan...so perfect..my whole being was in that post..thank you

The Pink Cowboy said...

Susan I'm on my way to get myself some watercolors, thank you for the idea. Willow, I once painted a landscape using Chai Tea..it was delicious...the tea, not the landscape. Judy in the Sky it would be great if you could illustrate your dream.Thank you for stopping by.

P.S. My captchas for this comment is "Calimoon." The kind of moon you see only in the Golden State. There is magic everywhere.

Bachelor said...

TPC,
You are so talented! I am not too creative when it comes to pen or brush in hand. You and I will have to play a piano duet. I wish you many happy islands too. Oh and may I have another cookie? Thanks!
The Bach

Jo said...

What a fabulous idea! I love looking at ancient maps, before the world as we know it.

It would be interesting to hear some stories of the people who live in your imaginary maps. :-)

Janelle said...

dig your doodles and dig The New Pic x j

Cynthia said...

I love your emotional map idea while I'm up here on my mountain and living in this great-vibed Caribbean island. How clever and insightful of the young Pink Cowboy to be drawing/designing maps! Maps and flags...he was a precise dreamer ...like Tolken and his Middle Earth. Is the development of a new language next? I've been away all week and it is restorative to return and visit this island blog. XX and <3

The Pink Cowboy said...

Darling Cynthia, you are very insightful, I have invented several languages already. I'm exposing this inner world of mine little by little. I plan to "build" another blog soon where I will chronicle this alt universe.
Bach help yourself to the cookie jar, it is always full.

Suza said...

"Coves are intimate like candlelight, misty afternoons and very old books. Peninsulas are always extending their mossy green arms into reconciliation and new opportunities." Beautifully written. I love maps - charted and uncharted - they always engage the imagination.

JBA said...

This is so fun! I used to draw lots of houses and rearranged the furniture, but never islands. Your drawings remind me of Tolkein.