Things to Draw: Querencia

Querencia, Colored Pencil, Watercolor, and Ink on Paper, 8 1/4″ x 5 3/8″

Ay Carlita! What does this word mean? Once I’d finished Googling, I knew why Carla gave me this. It’s everything. Or at least, the core of many of my artistic obsessions and many conversations we shared when we lived together. A general and more common way of referring to this idea is sense-of-place. But Barry Lopez, the environmental author, gives the word its full poetry with this definition: “A place from which one’s strength of character is drawn. A place in which we know exactly who we are. The place from which we speak our deepest beliefs.”

In the drawing I aimed for both the metaphorical, internal place and the sense of a physical locus. The anatomical heart/fetus/angel image is one I came up with years ago, that I loved for its weird harmony and which has developed in its symbolism as it has stayed with me. The image reminds me that though my heart is fragile, it speaks to God. And for the location, well…this heart resides amidst pine forests and arid mountainsides. There I know myself. Querencia.

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