pencil on paper drawing
image size: 22" wide x 20.5" high
I use the image of a child often in my drawings to denote innocence, purity and vulnerability – universal qualities that I hope/believe (in my own mind/heart) are innate qualities we all carry with us no matter our age.
The model: I was completely moved the first time I saw a photo of Frances Cobain by Herb Ritts in Vanity Fair. I used her for reference for a whole slew of my child drawings. Many years later, I was struck by a photo of my own niece who arrived in my life and altered it in ways unimaginable. All my friends thought my drawings were ultimately about her. I really don’t know.
My niece ~
With “Querencia”, I wanted to try to capture that word itself ~ Georgia Heard in “Writing Toward Home” describes it well:
“In Spanish, querencia describes a place where one feels safe, a place from which one’s strength of character is drawn, a place where one feels at home. It comes from the verb quere, which means to desire, to want.
Animals have querencia by instinct. The golden plover knows every year where to fly when it migrates. Rattlesnakes know by the temperature when to lie dormant. In winter, sparrows and chickadees know where their food is and return to the same spot again and again. Querencia is a matter of survival. A nest, a mole’s tunnel, is querencia.
Humans have querencia, too. We know where we feel most at home. Our bodies tell us, if we listen. There are certain seasons during which we feel more at ease. Certain times of day when we feel safe and more relaxed. Certain climates. Terrain. Even the clothes we wear make us feel more at home.
When I meet people I like to ask them what their querencia is. Some know immediately: mountains, the city, near the ocean. But many don’t know. Having a sense of where we feel most at home is a way of keeping grounded; it can give us that sense of rootedness and safety. Some people’s querencia is linked with nature: the sound of wind in the pines, the call of a loon, the salty smell of the ocean. Some feel most at home in a crowded cafe or in a public library, voices humming softly around them."