-  Fiction - A Tempered Elaboration









In Memory
Sean Pettibone



A Tempered Elaboration

Weighing the elusive yet entrancing figures displayed on the page in front of me was a deceptively disorienting and unexpectedly complicated task. I surveyed them warily, they resisted simple categorization and repelled duplication. They set an intimidating form, unyielding in appearance, resisting introspection. Arranged haphazardly, her disorganized forms and characters, specified no symbolic order and rebuffed detailed inspection. This arrangement purposefully repelled making neat categorization and ordered connections. Rationalizing common foundations and systematic parallels that might have occurred, setting paths that unfolded between them, was difficult to determine, much less confirm without accompanying explanation. The near-complete lack of elaboration within the forms might have been the culmination of a clandestine test or challenge she'd purposely constructed in order to measure my capabilities and determine any limitations. Marinating a steadily composed internalization required me to infer Gemine's immediate motivations without reinforcement.

I wasn't remotely certain of the accuracy within this disprortionately prominent premonition, but Gemine's actions appeared to point in that direction. She waited across from me and watched patiently as I stood across from the easel, unsure how to proceed. I spent an inordinate amount of time contemplating subsequent maneuvers. Innumerable possibilities crossed my mind until I finally decided to fill the page. Infused with an unarticulated force, I felt a strange energy come over my fingers. This unfocused energy didn't elicit a specific purpose, but the mechanisms were in place. Stepping forward into the alluring page, I looked at the imposing blank surface looming ahead without a clear plan. Acknowledging this in my mind, I reminded myself to maintain an calmative approach that could be built gradually. I wasn't expecting to find the entire solution in a single excursion, but keeping patience would hopefully reveal a visible path. I decided to forge onward and commence exploration, allowing anticipation to work at dispatching my residual uncertainty.
This approach required more time and effort than I was accustomed to expending. This would entail pronounced patience while there without visible or tangible reward. It wasn't the most obvious or straightforward solution, but embarking into an expansion of the unknown forms, taking a an active role, and unabashedly exploring the arrayed impenetrable figures without compromise made increasing sense the more I thought about it. She was undeniably correct on the most pronounced detriment impeding my repeated attempts to achieve incipient contemplation; within the boundaries Gemine had allowed for me to explore. I realized that following an unsustainable course of passive observation would no longer provide a satisfying conclusion. Gemine insisted that I move beyond the invisible breach that separated me from the mysterious figures but I lacked previous experience implementing such an intricate, potentially unrewarding task. Holding the pencil in my hand brought great trepidation and reluctance, my hands unsure I'd be able to meet her expectations. Deciding independently, without her prompting, to commence with a preliminary, tentative task. Looking over the page, my eyes focused on one of the simpler objects on the page. It was rather large and lacked the unapproachable level of detail many of the more elaborate figures contained. My hands were surprisingly steady. Working on its form for several minutes, I tried to make my version faithful to her composition. It wasn't an easy or simple task at first, and I had to watch myself and drew at a deliberate, somewhat slow pace, attempting to remain faithful to its proportions and dimensions. I took a very careful observation, comparing the figures alongside each other and making adjustments to my own without rushing.

It took me several revisions, many corrections and occasional erasures. The process became slightly easier as I slowly mimicked her process and gained some insight into the small piece's construction. It recalled her original work effectively after extensive effort. I stood back and viewed its presence on the page. My version was a noticeably smaller and rougher than I would have liked but it was an acceptable first effort. I was able to make a presentable reconstruction. It wasn't precisely the same form as the one on the facing page, but it was close enough. Turning in Gamine's direction, I sought her approval but she wasn't immediately forthcoming. She took a step closer and reviewed my work carefully, searching for flaws and defects that might diminish its faithfulness. After contemplating my efforts for a short time, she nodded her head and stated that she appreciated my efforts. She complimented me for not straying from her original work and resisting the unproductive temptation to add my own flourishes where none were present in her original composition.

She turned in my direction and asked pointedly if composing her obscure symbol with my own hands had elicited particular insight or unexpected elaboration of its meaning. I waited and contemplated the figure silently and thoroughly examined the intricately-designed composition. The undefined symbol seemed to convey a sense of direction or some kind of path, but I couldn't be sure. I relayed my intuition to Gemine and she nodded approvingly. She said that while I hadn't completely uncovered its purpose or meaning, she noticed prominent signals of early comprehension. Gemine intoned that my intuition wasn't precisely accurate, my instincts were heading the right direction. She appeared satisfied with my intervening conclusion and quality of its implementation. Her defensive position cautiously retreated to a normalized posture and she told me with residual confidence to return to the canvas without further intransience. I walked back somewhat relieved but still not fully comprehending her motives. Standing quietly, I waited for her to add more details.

Standing back, and looking at her from a remove, I noticed a subtle change in her disposition. Gemine didn't appeaser as concerned as she had been about me. I waited and tried to avoid speculating what her next objective might be. I decided to let her judgment take precedence, reminding myself that she possessed far more experience than I did. Gemine patiently advised me to pick a similar object from the opposing page, then attempt to recreate its complexity without losing its detail. She said the hardest part would be maintaining the objects' unseen energy, but not allowing their aesthetic distractions to take control, thus confusing their purpose. I took her admonition to mean that she wanted me to remain faithful, warning me firmly not to fall outside the boundaries and perimeters she'd set in place. This approach would lead to confusion and dislocation, blurring the focus I'd need to extract the indicate meanings the figures and symbols contained. Gemine's instructions seemed limiting and constrained but quickly decided to follow her advice. Adjusting to the intricate task ahead, I looked over the reaming forms, searching for one that was relatively simple and inherently approachable.

I remained unprepared for the concentrated, unstinting efforts required to portray the smaller, more elaborate characters. Looking them over carefully, I finally arrived at one that met the threshold of allowing straightforward interpretation without appearing overly complex. Placed unobtrusively along the bottom of the page, it appeared to signify something that wasn't really important. This meant I could make a marginal error in re-composition without throwing off the balance and accuracy of subsequent entries. Its dimensions were of medium-size and its width was thick. This particular symbol drew further attention because it seemed disconnected from other nearby pieces. Its isolation meant added to my intuition that working on recreating this particular symbol wouldn't require pronounced effort or elicit excessive scrutiny.

Taking the pencil in may hand but felt unable to commit. I decided to trace beforehand and made a several rough paths rising just above the surface. I was holding the pencil nervously just above the canvas so as not to make a permanent mark. Making these practice swings helped me to determine the amount of effort this would require. I was able to gain a sense of where it would go and how it would compliment my first imprint without making the process overly detrimental. I looked over the blank page carefully and decided to place my incarnation of the symbol along the sides as a precaution in case things went wrong. Sensing that I wasn't accomplishing enough with my experimental, noncommittal rehearsals, I worked up enough courage to put the pencil firmly into use.
I was able to overcome my excessively-worried mentality with a measure of resolve through a resilient process.

My hands moved across the page in several tentative motions before I pressed down on the conveyance with a surprisingly pronounced intent. I made a visibly impactful stroke that left a strong imprint on the page. The resulting form was thick and forceful, yet remained noticeably projected, its intricate lines appropriately measured and competently detailed with unwavering fidelity to its source. It didn't take long for my echo of her calling to mirror its outer form while faithfully reproducing its intrinsic style. Elaborating on the remaining elements within the figure didn't require me to expend inordinate additional effort. By that point, I only had to fill in the vacant sections then added a few simple alterations in order to finish completing the mirrored object. After I'd managed to mostly complete the task, I was surprised that it hadn't taken as much space on the page as I'd anticipated, appearing noticeably smaller than Gemine's original construction.

I stepped a short distance from the canvas and allowed her to take a closer look at my work, unsure how she'd respond. She appeared to take only a short time looking over visually diminutive compartment, but didn't seem to respond one way or the other. Her noncommittal disposition made me slightly uneasy, but I quickly decided following this neutral method was her way of not interfering with my efforts. She stepped away from the page and let me resume my work without indication. In my next approach to the canvas, I looked over the inconsistent arrangements and made a somewhat careful decision to use a similar symbol as the basis for my next installation. I worked without the same hesitation and resolved to mark the page with less intervening entropy, deterring premature calcification. Her canvas wasn't nearly as intimidating or disheveled upon secondary inspection. She seemed to follow a distinct pattern, despite its rough, sketched appearance. Gemine's figures appeared to share inherent aspects that worked together to reveal larger meanings. Their precise message wasn't immediately obvious, but their consistent design and form was instructive as I haltingly, then firmly chose the next symbol to model.

It was about the same size as the previous symbol but appeared noticeably more complicated with intermittent lines that coursed outside its edges, pointing outward towards the west. Underlining the symbol's directive idiosyncrasy, there was a small curved line, resembling an arrow, that further illustrated its conductive, transitory nature. It wasn't nearly as straightforward but remained manageable. I took the pencil and began drawing its outer perimeter. It slowly began to materialize and began forming its distinctive foundation. I filled in the remaining portion which was simple enough, but the secondary objective was going to prove more challenging. Recreating the intersecting lines she placed throughout the form wasn't as simple it might have appeared at first glance. I needed to be careful to accurately recreate the spacing, length and durability of each line. This required inherent focus and concentration, even the smallest deviation would mark a dramatic shift not just in appearance but further, marking a seemingly insignificant mistake in my transcription had the potential to significantly change the figure's indicative meaning, profoundly altering its purpose.

These pressures caused me to proceed further with increased awareness, and I commenced implementing fastidious techniques to avoid diminishing her expectations and more significant complications. My approach narrowed substantially as I focused on a specific section of the symbol's form. Without overpowering the main figure, I had to redraw her extruding sequence of parallel lines carefully, holding the pencil slightly aloft and at a sharper angle so its imprint would be lighter, but still visible. It took substantial effort and time, since I had to measure the each line and determine its proportion and distance in advance. This meant it couldn't be rushed, but the additional time spent contemplating the figure's inimitable dimensions allowed me to grasp its enduring proportions to a degree I hadn't previously realized. Designing and plotting using my own hand, amplified the importance of each line. They appeared to gain additional importance; each conversant line that I drew crossed though the main figure bearing added weight and significance. I made assiduous implementation, hopefully ensuring that my work would mirror hers with as much accuracy as I could achieve. It took prolonged effort, but I finally approximated Gemine's construction to an acceptable degree. Exhaling to release the accumulated exertion, I stood back and converted my anxious energies towards improvised satisfaction. Overlooking its visible flaws, scattered inconsistencies and uneven structure, allowed me to appreciate the involved work's quality. The uncertainty looming over my transitory confidence was whether Gemine had the generosity to do the same.

Inferring that I'd made a conscientious effort to faithfully reproduce her work, she appeared impressed with my steady hand and restrained implementation. She remarked that she was pleased that I'd taken the consequence of maintaining the figure's proper alignment seriously without her needing to point that out. She pointed out a few minor flaws, such as my uneven lines on the sides and the figure's perceived lack of balance that appeared to emphasize its outstretched lines more than was needed. Gemine motioned across the figure and gestured that I'd made a promising determination, despite limited information and confined space. I was somewhat relieved but also unsure of where to go next. I looked past her and looked ahead towards the intimidating collection of seemingly impenetrable assemblage of increasingly complex forms, unsure how I'd manage to reconstruct her more elaborate objects with coherence. It took awhile to decide which of the myriad shapes I could attempt. Many appeared far too intricate for my capabilities and several others required a deft hand that could convey subtlety with far greater skill than I possessed. Staring back at me, they offered vanishingly small guidance, seemingly immune to further excursions on my part. Without tangible encouragement, I made a decision to extricate one of the more prominent, yet seemingly straightforward figures.

The figure I picked out from the crowded page had an intriguing form that was unique but appeared somewhat accessible. It seemed complicated at first, but upon closer evaluation, it seemed to become less intimidating. Appearing to encompass multiple elements, I was able to visually determine that it consisted of distinct sections. Pulling these apart visually allowed me to focus on a specific aspect without becoming overwhelmed. The pieces resembled objects I'd seen before and pulling them apart simplified their structure significantly. I began my reproduction with a focus on its main section. I began composing the circular, diametrically rounded figures inside the central portion. These resembled insipient bowls or rounded dishes of extruding elegance and preeminent style. Undulating in precise form with indisputable flourish, they unfolded within each other in consecutive, fervently unmistakable determination and prescient implementation. The resulting complimentary lines formed intricate circles that appeared to compliment, reinforce and protect each other. This unusually straightforward approach was surprisingly straightforward in style and construction which made re-drawing their main forms and prominent lines relatively simple.

Motioning quickly across the page, the pencil seemed to align intuitively with my fingers, proceeding without excessive contemplation. I quickly reached the outer section and found the work had become much simpler when I separated its structure apart. Extending past these inner rings was an ovular bubble that surrounded the entire circle, compressing its form into a flatter, interior space. I looked over and faced the most-difficult part of the reconstruction. Her image was crossed with intermittent black spots, scattered seemingly at random locations across its surface. These appeared to have no pattern or structure to follow, but I remembered my objective to remain faithful. I wasn't going to rush through and place the dots in random order. I decided to move with patience, going one position at a time. I worked from top to bottom, carefully maintaining their relative position and accurate location. This wasn't an inherently taxing problem, but I also needed to display each point prominently, in order to retain their coherent message. Following this studious approach meant my finished reflection took significantly longer to emerge, but the result was unambiguously edifying.

I completed my intervening task and patiently awaited her response. She appeared reluctant to intervene and looked over my drawing impassively. I wasn't sure what her lack of action was foretelling. I waved for her to come and inspect the work since it was convincingly transferred intact. It seemed to share a similar effect to its inspiration and emanated an emotive field that appeared to suggest a consequential meaning, signified through its emphatic design. Gemine was largely unmoved by its temporal persuasion, shifting in place only slightly after enduring an unwelcome interruption. I wasn't surprised that she maintained a demonstrably conspicuous remove but couldn't determine why she'd suddenly grown so detached from an object of her own creation. It seemed to be an odd conflict that I couldn't easily reconcile. Her motives remained elusive until she noticed that I'd repeatedly switched my gaze back and forth between her and the composition uneasily. This subtle gesture brought about a subdued response on her part. Gemine waved her head gently, signifying that she wanted me to commence work on the next portion. I took this as a sign that she was pleased with my work, and that I shouldn't dwell on any minor defects.

It didn't take long before I followed her instincts. Quickly sorting then choosing the next piece was a much easier task. Determining to make further inroads, I picked out a relatively simple symbol from the arrangement, and began to hastily engineer its outlines. I stared tracing at a steadier, more confident rate, allowing myself the confidence to proceed without undue consternation that slowed composition of my initial copies. I worked with a greater knowledge, as the conventions and parallels between them gradually became more familiar. I managed to recall extracting the proceeding form's design and style, and followed a similar approach. Splitting its form into smaller pieces allowed me to work faster. I worked at a steadier clip while steadfastly continuing to follow a purposeful fidelity.

The object in materialized, faithfully reconstituted while I resisted the urge to add inflection. Its pieces were scattered at first but gradually appeared to connect with each other as they had previously. These incoherent pieces again formed a larger object but using an forthright process meant it didn't take nearly as long to complete the process. On the surface, it shared most of the important characteristics of its inspiration, but there were a few noticeable problems that couldn't be overlooked. The object I created wasn't as graceful as the original. Its sides were narrower and the constrained lines gave it a cluttered look that wasn't reflective of the original. Empty spaces within the forms also diminished, and this made the symbol's gaps appear to resemble erratic mistakes than purposefully contrasting space. This gave my symbol a thicker, uninviting feel that didn't match the residing elegance of the original. I looked over my work carefully and quickly felt inherently disappointed. The immediate conclusion was unavoidable; the prevailing form had fallen short of her standards and consequently missed my expectations.

It appeared that I hadn't taken proper care to measure its proportions and the end result wasn't as accurate as I'd achieved earlier. The hastily-assembled symbol's composition appeared to have emerged too quickly and taken a somewhat reckless turn into a fallow area. Instinctively realizing that this particular piece hadn't gone as planned, almost as soon as I finished composing it. Adding imprecise, undue flourishes to hide its defects, without thinking ahead or elaborating only distorted the symbol's appearance to a greater extent. It seemed these hasty additions only magnified the figure's defects instead of countering them. With a significant resignation, I turned back in her direction for further advice or encouragement. She'd already determined this piece wasn't up to standards and acknowledged this by nodding gently, without becoming excessively critical. The only sensible thing I could implement was to scratch it out quickly, blotching the misformed symbol from view and resumed the process with anew with increased resolve.

Undeterred by the slight mishandling, I was determined to get the figure right on my second attempt. I decided to work a tad slower on this attempt, but committed to a faster piece. Resuming my reflected work without trepidation, I made more careful measurements but worked quickly, marking ample space for a slightly larger composition to unfold. I changed tactics and began working on the figure's outer portions, which required a lighter touch with less prominent strokes. Ensuring I'd recapture the predominant appearance behind the figure, I constructed its exterior portions with an eye towards the correct balance. It wasn't easy to recreate her emotive guides, but I was able to approximate their length and intangible flow with sustained effort. I paused as I completed the first section and felt somewhat unsure whether I'd be able to sustain such an intricate balance.

Stepping back, I noticed the lines extended from the center somewhat unevenly, finely rendered but lacking in accurate proportions. However, I felt that they could be salvaged with some effort. I took the pencil's sharpened edge and turned it in vertical direction to sustain a consistent extension that blended in with the earlier work, flowing somewhat seamlessly. Looking over at her work, the task she provided wasn't made any easier by its demanding formations, which weren't easily retraced. Managing to faithfully duplicate the outer portions her symbol with greater accuracy, I moved inward and began filling the inner portion with greater speed. It was thicker and less complex, allowing me to balance its internal structure with a better sense of proportion. Relationships between the elements inside the figure began to codify in tandem wish the original. After convergent effort, I began to internalize their aesthetic connections and visual responses.

Sustained exposure to her intricate figure's resplendent style allowed me to become increasingly confident that I'd be able to intuitively design the remaining portion of the figure. It didn't take that much exertion from that point, but I needed to maintain a consistent approach in order not to make another mistake. Using a systematic approach, I was able to fill-in the remaining portions without constraining their important gaps. It wasn't breaching them impetuously, but instilled a resilient consistency that allowed me to honor her precise instructions. Placing the forms accuracy while maintaining a consistent speed was my most important mission. I worked at a consistent pace that wasn't intrusive, allowing enough time to concentrate my energies in a proficient manner.

She watched me from a pronounced remove and carefully observed progress without intruding, which repositioned my outlook. I was grateful she trusted me enough to let me work unimpeded, allowing me to move faster than I would have otherwise. I reoriented the pencil to standard position and finished the remaining portions with a sense of accomplishment. It had expended prolonged and sustained work, but the completed figure exceeded my first attempt, accurately mirroring the original. I was pleased that it effectively inferred her work's spirit to a degree, while maintaining a consistent form; the finished symbol surpassing my expectations. There weren't pronounced errors, so I was able to achieve this result without marking the page excessively. Moving my eyes quickly to measure her gaze, I noticed a slight measure of satisfaction come across her. She nodded and waved again, signifying her approval. Gemine's tangential support gave me renewed confidence and I decided to move on to the next figure without delay.

It seemed to jump out from her page decisively with a strong, unmistakable form that cut across nearby symbols. Separating from the cluttered assemblage, its flourishing shape immediately signified an unmistakable indication of placement and measurement despite lacking visible labels and fixed proportions. Unique among the other symbols, that particular form stood out due to its unique visage. Resembling what appeared to be a miniature map or blue-print, the rigidly-angled lines near the top and solid foundation immediately beneath recalled a diminutive cartographic object. There weren't any conventional indicators but a fractional measure was visible as a small rectangular shape cut out from its bottom. There were a couple of small lines cutting across the lower portion of the shape, which implied lanes or routes of indeterminate length.
That particular figure appeared promising and relatively simple to work on and I commenced without hesitation. I quickly drew the thick block at the bottom as a provisional foundation, then worked towards the crossed lanes near the top, determining its angles quickly by maneuvering the pencil and holding it at an opposing angle. My final task was the easiest, I only needed to add three parallel lines across the lower section, measuring them to maintain proximity, I quickly added a consecutive grouping of unmarked points beneath the foundation, matching her design. I stopped because the intervening reserve she'd instilled in my hand allowed me to complete the figure definitively, without drawing any further elaboration.

I was somewhat pleased with how quickly I'd managed to finish contemplating and composing that figure but quickly realized it's meaning might have differed from my initial interpretation. Upon closer examination, it might have conversely indicated that its convergent structure represented a sharp arrow pointing upward or directly forward. Despite its intersecting lines and almost-mechanical surface composition, the inconclusive symbol wasn't nearly as elaborate and lacked extruding flair. Its surface was more subdued than many of the other forms she'd composed. It coincided with the others informally since its non-committal appearance contained a mysterious invocation that appeared sporadically, largely dependent on the angle it was viewed from. The resulting symbol's shift in perspective significantly altered its purpose; this meant its inherent meaning was unexpectedly ambiguous. I couldn't determine what the symbol indicated decisively. I asked Gemine for confirmation of my theories, but she didn't answer when I asked her whether it represented an elaborate map or simply indicated an arrow. Gemine left any conclusive interpretations to my discernment, but I wasn't able to decide between these divergent meanings.

Relying on my somewhat limited perspective, I determined that it would probably be better to avoid assigning that particular figure a firm determination. There wasn't enough time to fully contemplate its deeper meaning and come up with a reasonable explanation. Instead, I decided to attempt to reconstitute another figure, notwithstanding the lingering adhesions that defied attempts at comprehensive internalization. I made an effort to search the opposing page for something with a steadier, unambiguous approach and found an easier to comprehend figure within her varied compositions. She'd placed this one near the center of the configuration. Gemine's hadn't spent that much time on this one and its simple appearance was immediately appealing. It didn't look like it would be that difficult for me to copy its form and I delved right into the task.

Consisting of several simple elements, the first step was to draw a large square, then work on the elements within. I had to make this one rather large to ensure there would be enough space. Approximating its surface wasn't terribly difficult and I managed to make it through quickly. The symbol's inner section proved slightly more challenging. A series of smaller circles within were placed within; a quick count revealed sic of these, spread inside the square at somewhat irregular intervals. I made a concerted effort to accurately portray their size and placement, but this didn't take long. I'd grown accustomed to many of the conventions that recurred throughout the painting and it only required a rough measurement with my eyes to reconstruct her approach.

I finished my copy much faster than the earlier work, and didn't take much time to reflect on its completion. Its meaning implied a timing or speed measurement, marking distance travelled, without being overly elaborate. Relatively straightforward, at least from my perspective, it conveyed a straightforward implementation, though I had to look at it closely and in relation to the other symbols to understand its meaning. Working fervently on the intricate design appeared to elicit little confirmation. I remained at a loss as to what the specific meaning and purpose of these abstract figures might signify. Sensing that the solution wasn't as distant as it might have appeared, I continued with my work. Uncertain as to the final form that might emerge from the associated drawings' convergence, I remained determined to internalize and thoroughly understand their meaning and measured significance.

- Michael Palisano