From here to there

In lieu of a written journal I prefer to make small images that are kept often in a box rather than in the traditional book format. I rarely share these images but thought it appropriate when asked by this journal.

We all know time is illusive. We all have memories and we tend to hold on to memories. They are those precious commodities that we attach meaning to; however, they do change over time. With images I can try to attach a moment in time to them but I think they may be broader in range than that. As a visual artist I can try to attach all I want to an image but when shared they become something else. Drawing is a sole, intimate act like the whittling of a piece of wood. There is the noise of the pencil on the paper, the swish of the water, the peaceful quiet and the watching of the brain making decisions about what to do next as if I am not involved in the process. Why did I choose that garish color or subdued tone? Is it this activity of inquiry with pencil or bush in hand that I am addicted to? When I am working in this way it allows for a more open mind, whether reflective or jittery I can respond with a tool to that emotion or lack thereof.

The first image (Tony) has a tiny figure with a knapsack dwarfed by the landscape. When I made this image I was thinking of a poet friend, now deceased. When we met there were many things in his life he had never told anyone. I was that initial confidant, it was this kind of unspoken sharing of things that kept us together for a long time as friends.

As cliché as the symbol of a heart is, in this sketch (Bill) it is used in a remembrance image. The heart is overlayed on an image of lungs. I hoped to convey the sadness of someone dying suddenly before truly connecting with a sibling after decades of being apart. I wanted to at least make some notation of this.

Interaction #34: Relationships are the hardest things humans try to do. The inability to come to terms with history of what we do as a result of lack of empathy, compassion and education of differences and how enormously wonderful understanding can be. I do feel incredibly burdened and heavy about my being from a strong white colonial background. I am not surprised but do not remember why the two feathers. I do understand the "word" bubble having images rather than text since it is impossible to know what to say to write my forebears' incredible greed.

North South East West Left Right: When I was 12, I decided that I was going to adopt if I was ever to have children. I remember the moment. I was in the family car—a big long station wagon, the radio was on and the newscaster was talking about "ZPG," zero population growth. I just thought how intelligent. My now husband said to me one morning about ten years into our relationship "what do you think about adopting?" It was a long dream come true. There is some text in this image—although somewhat obscured. It says "from here to there."

Another way I record things is by making smaller sculptural objects. At left is a small assembly of some of these objects. They may just be a record of something I am interested in pursuing later on or that may be all that ever happens. I record them in a journal-like way. I have a series that were recorded on this table. They are notations in the same way the drawing is in my mind. I hope this has given the viewer an insight into how I make and record images that I return to when making larger work.

Jane Miller is an artist living and working in Guilford, Conn. She has shown her work nationally and internationally, with work included in museum and private collections across the United States. She has been involved in the arts field for several years, most notably as a professor and art critic at the Rhode Island School of Design, Cornell University and Kenyon College and as a collection manager for the Yale University Art Gallery's Numismatic Department for 12 years. See more artwork at