Elf Salon ~ featured elf

The Elf Salon spotlights different elves from the Gallery and tells the stories of my encounters with them. It will be updated periodically, so please check back the next time you're in the neighborhood. The Salon is now featuring:

Marbry

Marbry

"Following the Fun "

Marbry is very shy at first ~ gangly, awkward, all elbows and knees. He huddles down into himself, uncomfortable with the sharp focus of my attention on him. “Hmmm.” I think, “he’s not the type to knowingly sit for a portrait. How did I ever manage to draw him ~ and in such tight close-up?”

The answers come even as I think the questions. I feel his curiosity ~ like a cat, and, cat-like, a fascination with activity, movement, of any sort. He lives for fun, loves to play and is quickly drawn into any game.

He leans in, head on arms, rapt, entranced by my play, my drawing trance ~ following the movement of my hand, crayon, brush across the page, his eyes tracking every line, drinking in the play of light and dark, color upon color as the image slowly emerges.

Marbry is acquainted with humans. He has seen them, knows of them, of the trouble they can be. For a moment, I see them through his eyes ~ big, clumsy, no grace, no magic, not too bright. They’re sad, really ~ or could be, if one wanted to be sad. But they’re funny too; they can make you laugh with their strangeness and absurdities. He’s not used to humans being aware of him ~ he’s not a part of their world, invisible to their eyes. A one-way window, or so he thinks.

So, he’s comfortable enough watching me at first, being close to a human so unaware of him, so wrapped up in drawing, painting, forming images from color, line, form and shadow. What is the picture? Can he make it out?

He starts up in surprise ~ shocked recognition, as I step back to view what I have drawn. “No! How is that possible? How can it be? It’s ~ my face ~ ME? She can‘t see me! Can she?” Now he’s not so pleased ~ not sure that he wishes to be seen, to be the focus of human attention.

This game has soured for him. Not one to stay where the fun has gone, he ups and aways, out of the studio, through the door into the garden, through invisible doors into his own world. It’s his world’s version of my small urban backyard wilderness ~ wilder, more overgrown than the place I see through my window. There are more bushes and trees, more bracken and bramble and climbing vines. There are flowers aplenty, as far as the eye can see. There are no fences here, nothing to chop up the space or try to contain it.

I quickly follow, from my world into his. We’re playing his game now. I’m hiding behind bushes, popping up like a great Jack-in-the-box, then crouching down again, finding a new place to hide. It’s a game of “peek-a-boo.” “There you are ~ I see you. You see me too. Ooops! Now you do and now you don’t.” Both of us, bobbing crazily up and down, running randomly through the trees and shrubbery.

There’s so much I want to know. How can I find out? Will he answer me? “Keep it light,” I think, “Make it a game.” I toss out questions like cat-toys, like bait for fishes . . .

“Where do you live?” I call.

“Here!” He yells, gleefully, running between bush and tree. He is laughing delightedly; telling me nothing. What fun to tease!

“What do you like?”

More laughter. “To tease, to play. To be free.” The mingled scents of vanilla and caramel waft through my mind, making my mouth water. Oh ho! Something else he likes. Marbry has a sweet tooth.

“What do you do?” I toss out, at the same time wondering why I would ask such a thing. I already know that Marbry is about being, not doing. I anticipate his answer.

“I AM.” He cries triumphantly. “I live. I dance. I play. I fly.”

“Fly?” I call, and immediately hear the words “Yellow bird” in my mind and see it, brown and golden, tiny and vibrant ~ some kind of finch, perhaps? ~ in my mind’s eye. It takes wing and rushes up to the branches of a nearby tree, chirping merrily. A rush of knowing ~ this is Marbry too.

“Why did you come to me?” I finally ask, wondering what could ever have lured him from his wild world into a dark basement studio in my world even for an hour.

But, of course I should have known.

“The fun. The play.” He calls down to me from the treetop. “You. Drew. Me.”