The drawing

Of me. Done by Max Vasilatos after a visit to me on 1/2. To make clay forms of items of mine for bronze casts — still to come — and share holiday carrot cake and commiserate over the pains and inabilities of our poor afflicted bodies, notably the weather-induced agony of our metal hip joints. But the drawing:

(#1) In my bathrobe, sitting in my home office

Facebook discussion ensued:

MV: you’ve acquired a Gandalfesque aspect

AZ > MV: You also got my poor twisted hands into the thing. And my walker. Meanwhile, those are seriously piercing eyes. (The better to look into your soul, my dear.)

MV > AZ: one hand in the foreground holding a bar [AZ: one handle of my walker], all of which made it interesting to add, along with your glass doors and garden… your eyes drew themselves, despite me fighting them a few rounds

AZ: Oh yes, nice work on my robes of office. [AZ: a little joke]

AZ: For comparison, from a year ago, same location:

(#2) Photo (by Kim Darnell) from 12/5/21, a year ago

As a bonus, here are Max and Arnold in easier times, in front of the long-departed Gordon Biersch in Palo Alto on 12/12/14 (photo by, I believe, Ned Deily):

(#3) I’m wearing an excellent leather jacket, whose successor has just now passed on to my grandchild Opal, who it fits perfectly

Note on my prosthetic (right) hip joint. Like many of my joints, regrettably sensitive to changes in the weather. When it’s bad, that hip shimmers with pain when I lie flat (as in, on my bed) and twinges when I walk, but is ok when I’m sitting, so I have to sleep sitting up in a chair.

It was like this on 1/2, and so was Max’s prosthetic hip joint. Mine moderated the next day, yesterday, but moved down to my right knee (“referred pain”, this is called). Today, while a sea-storm is moving in, it’s all down to an ache. No, I don’t understand it.

I don’t know about Max’s hip implant, but mine is titanium, which has always pleased me because (being the sort of person that I am) I associated the metal with Titania, queen of the fairies in Midsummer Night’s Dream. But alas, the chemical element turns out to be named after the Titans of myth (as, it seems, was Titania). From Wikipedia:

Titanium is a chemical element with the symbol Ti and atomic number 22. Found in nature only as an oxide, it can be reduced to produce a lustrous transition metal with a silver color, low density, and high strength, resistant to corrosion in sea water, aqua regia, and chlorine.

Titanium was discovered in Cornwall, Great Britain, by William Gregor in 1791 and was named by Martin Heinrich Klaproth after the Titans of Greek mythology [the precursors of the Olympic gods].

… Titanium can be alloyed with iron, aluminium, vanadium, and molybdenum, among other elements, to produce strong, lightweight alloys for aerospace (jet engines, missiles, and spacecraft), military, industrial processes (chemicals and petrochemicals, desalination plants, pulp, and paper), automotive, agriculture (farming), medical prostheses, orthopedic implants, dental and endodontic instruments and files, dental implants, sporting goods, jewelry, mobile phones, and other applications.


2 Responses to “The drawing”

  1. Max Vasilatos Says:

    Mine’s titanium, at least the ball part and the extension down into the femur. The socket is a microcrystalline ceramic lattice out of NASA probably, and yikes it screams like the dickens, as does my steel left shin, but I wouldn’t trade either of them for the alternative, not in a million years.

    I’m a bit fascinated by my own drawing process, and now that I draw humans, the complexity is tough. There are some people I can draw fairly effortlessly, my spouse is one, I am one, and you, Arnold, I find that every time I’ve drawn your face, it’s immediately a telling likeness, there for me to go on to mess up. And true, you have varied.

    There are amazing counterexamples. I’m told it’s normal that I have trouble drawing my parents. It would be nice to pick out some agency in the equation, but I don’t have much control, I’m almost a passive observer.

    Recently, I drew a person who is employed in a position that can affect me — and I had trouble catching her expression, until finally I gave her the expression I wanted her to have instead of what she did. This is speculation, but I believe I couldn’t draw her properly because I was upset that she relies on intimidating people to get things done, which I realized more profoundly when she disliked the picture, noticing right away that I’d made her more friendly than she really is.

    The depth to which I — knowingly or not — judge people is brought forth when I draw.

    I do not have this problem with dogs, who talk with me quite openly about their feelings. Their faces are open books. Cats talk by contorting their bodies.

    Another aspect of drawing Arnold Zwicky was that I realized that the person encompasses his environment, extends out a few yards in all directions. So you got more background and foreground than most, it traveled with you onto the page. And I thought the hand was large and masculine on a strong arm. The garden is still maybe going to get some green added.


  2. Max Vasilatos Says:

    I am obliged to report here on the lady whose gruff approach put me off, and so I drew her as more friendly. Because she was clearly aware that I hadn’t drawn her accurately, I brought in several other versions of her portrait, one of which I’d intended to keep, that was a little brighter and louder…

    She looked them over in the course of an afternoon, and when I swung back by, she’d settled on the one I originally gave her, to my surprise. Further to my happy surprise, her mood had shifted, more in line with the picture. At least with me, and I love that.

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