Passing the Flame

by Alden Cole on January 30, 2014 · 0 comments

PassingTheFlameWP#9 in the New Drawings from Old (1974-2014) series, revised 1.26.14, aka The Eternal Feminine Leads Us Onward, using a #2 pencil on paper, 13.5″ x 8.75″ (detail at left of original pencil drawing with partial inking; completed inked drawing below)

This is how it all started. There I was in New York City in early 1974, trying to capture in pencil (then partially inking the drawing with a triple 0 rapidograph, until I lost interest), a visual of an archetype – the Eternal Feminine, as understood, misunderstood, romanticized, etc. by a 30 year old homosexual, still uncomfortable in his own skin, reading Joseph Campbell’s Hero of a Thousand Faces, and listening repeatedly to the operas of Wagner; wondering what I was going to do with my life when I grew up, and aspiring to be more artistically than I was at that time: a fashion illustrator. Plus reading Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and Wagner, yes the librettos for the operas, all ten of them; then listening to them as well, all 45 LPs, mostly London Records pace-setting series conducted by Sir Georg Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic; Solti, the great conductor whose recordings of Wagner set the standard as far as I was concerned. And let’s not forget soprano Birgit Neilsen! Now there’s a story! Anyway, I can’t even remember who else I was reading in those days, because I was not much of a reader at that time; not until I passed my first Saturn return, and started understanding the great joys of the printed page, especially without any musical background or other distractions.

PassingTheFlame14WPAnyway, this is how that old sketch above ended the other day, as a fully inked, but flawed, drawing. Working with pen is so different from pencil; since the original had been partially inked,  there was no turning back. The anima figure is a bit reminiscent of Cheryl Tiegs, or Jean Shrimpton, which isn’t surprising considering the fashion illustration career I was moving out of. Perhaps I shoulda considered becoming a realistic cartoonist, but I was way too insecure about pursuing that possibility, as well as being pretty turned off by the idea of drawing miles and miles of storyboards for a living. I sought other means to keep a roof over my head.  For some interesting info on concepts of The Eternal Feminine, and Goethe’s contribution to the mystique through Faust, check out the WikiEntry:

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