member of:Observers of the Interdependence of Domestic Objects and Their Influence on Everyday Life

This group has been active for a long time and has already made some remarkable assertions which render life simpler from the practical point of view. For example, I move a pot of green color five centimeters to the right, I push in the thumbtack beside the comb and if Mr. A (another adherent like me) at this moment puts his volume about bee-keeping beside a pattern for cutting out vests, I am sure to meet on the sidewalk of the avenida Madero a woman who intrigues me and whose origin and address I never could have known...
--Remedios Varo

(Slideshow is of Artwork by Remedios Varo)
By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.
--Franz Kafka

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Big Picture

The Big Picture

(more on St. Rita of Cascia, patron saint of impossible dreams)

This is the biggest drawing I have made, 18 inches by 24. I am working also on a color version, but I'm not happy with it yet :)

There are many details that make the fig tree a good companion for a saint. First of all, that it will grow out of rock, like an orchid, only gigantic; that it could even grow out of the "ruins" of our civilization.

It is now believed that fig trees were the first plant species to be bred for food, some 11,000 years ago in the Middle East--several hundred years before wheat cultivation began. Because its wood is terribly difficult to chop down and provides nothing of interest to our markets, its existence in places like Queensland's national and state parks has saved those areas, and their other trees, from logging. The roses shown here are Alain Blanchard, from the species "Rosa gallica," which, according to Wikipedia, is one of the earliest cultivated species of roses.

As you might recall from my last post on St. Rita, one of her miraculous aspects was her ability to acquire a fig and a rose from a favorite garden in the dead of winter simply by wishing it so. Here, her presence has caused both to bloom from the same fig tree. After all, many things come from a fig tree: according to legend, underneath it, Buddha found enlightenment, and from between its roots sprung the Sarasvati* river; according to a NASA clean air study, the weeping fig also produces clean air, processing out our nasty pollutants--bringing us back full circle in this post and in the world, with new life forming from our ruins--by way of the fig tree.

You can see if you zoom in that as she sits in the curve of the tree trunk, it's as if she's pushing the bark outwards in waves--that is how I imagine it looks when reality "shifts" to allow an impossibility new space in the world. Being a saint, she lets the bird take the fig.

*note: The Sarasvati River was originally personified in the Hindu religion as Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, though through time, she developed into a separate entity. It is a very special river in ancient Hindu texts.

bark and roses


  1. The picture is so fantastic Zoe. I never realized that you do art too. And beautiful art at that.

    Wonderful story dear friend.

    Love Renee xoxo

  2. Zoe, nice drawing.
    I'm not an expert, but I like what I see. Sometimes I don't understand your explanations, but I don't need them to understand my eyes.
    I see your style, detailed and I've noticed you look for the meaning of everything.
    I really like it.

  3. An elegant drawing Zoe. I admire your use of space, which reminds me of W. Heath Robinson's masterful black and white illustrations for A Midsummer Night's Dream. Do you draw with a dipping nib (a mapping pen) or a technical pen like a stylograph?

  4. Hello zoe

    What a lovely drawing! You are so talented.
    I love this artwork!! A fluttering rose is very impressive! Now here ripe figs arrive at the supermarket from farms. How interesting to know that fig trees were the first plant species to be bred for food, some 11,000 years ago in the Middle East! I love to read about ancient civilizations!!

  5. Zoe, this drawing is amazing. I am always mezmerized by the eyes of your characters... they are so beautiful and expressive! I didn't know that fig trees were so special. I have one at home, and its's been here ever since I was a small child, its fruit is delicious. My father was born in Syria, so I guess this "fig connection" is not casual...
    I will love to see the colored version, though this one already made my day :-D

  6. I see you in her eyes, now I understand why I loved them at the first glimpse so much:)
    Beautiful drawing and very romantic.
    Thank you for this gift that you share with us dear Zoe

  7. thank you! your comments are really kind, and i appreciate them bunches!

    clive--i looked up robinson's illustrations, and i adore the way he presents leaves and cloth especially. a new source for inspiration, thank you!
    sylvia--i'm still struggling with it :) thanks :)

  8. vesna, what a sweet thing to say! you are a saint! :D

  9. found your work on flickr and i think its just lovely.Im delighted that you have a blog, too.