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Work in Progress - The Magic Door

I’ve been yearning to sketch this. At my gym, the downstairs weight room (aka the ‘fit pit’) has windows that look out into the pool, beneath the water. I find it to be a most mesmerizing view. I could sit there for hours watching out those windows. I’ve noticed the last several times I’ve been there, the weight room has been empty a lot, save for me, so today I decided to bring my sketchbook along.

As you can see, my sketch isn’t too developed yet.

There’s a little door in the weight room, half as tall as a normal door, that I presume is a storage closet. I find it fascinating as well. The other day I noticed another closet door too, hidden underneath the stairwell. I love old buildings for the cracks in their walls, the showing of pipes; making me wonder what they contain and where they lead to; and for the stories I know they hold.

I jotted down some notes as I sketched, to help me bring my drawing to life when it’s time.

What I enjoyed most today was watching how the sun beamed down through the water and yet because of the fluidity, I noticed that the light actually rippled horizontally across the sunbeams too, in a diamond, chain link fence, type pattern.

The mirror effect of the water is incredible as well. From underneath, the surface mirrors the pool floor. I think there’s an analogy for life here. If one lives within the water, never breaking through the surface, through the mirror, they may never know that there’s a whole world beyond this one.

I find it phenomenal watching people swim from that point of view—being beneath them, looking up towards the surface. It’s neat seeing how their skin moves in the weightless environment, as the water creates resistance against their flesh. Faceless body parts, piercing through the mirror. And of course, I love the bubbles the swimmers spawn! They’re a treat for my eyes. In the sunbeams, the bubbles glow like iridescent pearls. They grow bigger as they move towards the surface, some bursting as they touch the air.

As fun as it is to see people swimming, my heart’s desire truly wishes the pool was filled with penguins, so my drawing is going to have a penguin in it, guarding the door. A person will be swimming on the surface. As important as it is for one to see the beyond the looking glass, too many of us don’t dive into the depths either.

I feel so strange these days, living in the daylight hours after my many years of being nocturnal. I don’t really understand people. I find the superficialities of this society and culture suffocating, although I am getting better with small talk. I’m learning how to live in the shallow waters, even though my heart belongs to the deep darkness below. There is a beauty there that few will ever know. I do enjoy talking to the plants and trees at least, they’re most happy right now tasting the sunlight on their leaves. The crows are fun too. They like to follow me.

I can’t take pictures at the gym, due to privacy, which is why I’ve been yearning to pull out my sketchbook.

A line from my poem “No Filter” (2024) echoed in my head as I sketched: “Secrets so deep they can’t be whispered.”

It will be fun to see how this piece evolves. I may return to the weight room with my colours once my concept is sketched out. Watching the light ripple through the water, trying to understand the motion of it so as to be able to capture it in a drawing, is a challenge I look forward to taking on.

Work in Progress by Amy Frank


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