Saturday, August 24, 2013
Inner Life of Cannas
These drawings are self-explanatory. The cannas in our front yard are forming seed pods. Their fruit is a mysterious red and green prickly thing with a little wing-like part emerging from the top.
This second page shows details done after a dissection of the fruit as well as a dissection of an immature fruit. I remembered while I was drawing these of something that happened to me in third grade. My teacher, a young nun named Sr. Sheila, asked me one day if I would help her out with her biology homework for a class she was taking. I couldn't imagine how I could help her. I didn't even know what biology was. She handed me a spiral notebook that was filled with intriguing line drawings. She told me the notebook belonged to her friend and that she needed me to copy the drawings into her own notebook. She told me she was not able to draw at all, and she knew I was good at drawing. (No secret because that was what I did all day long to amuse myself in class.) Her plan was that I would stay after school for a few days and draw her biology drawings.
I was happy to get to look at the drawings and copy them. Since I walked home from school, there was nothing elaborate to arrange. I just sat in my desk and copied the drawings-- cells, mitochondria, flower parts, magnified leaves, etc-- day after day. I learned so much about the invisible-until-then world just sitting there drawing. I was sad when I finished and hoped she would have more for me to copy, but she never did, even though she thanked me and told me I had done exactly what she needed.