Listening - watching
taking a moment
drawing the world
finding the way to connection
again and again.

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Friday, March 16, 2018

A Story about Fear and Drawing and Opening

I spent some time in Mexico - San Miguel de Allende - this past month.
I wandered around this interesting town, sketching a bit, but what I really enjoyed
were the private salsa lessons I was taking.
It felt like a brave and joyful activity - relational, creative.

I got a listing from my teacher Fernando of some social dancing spots in town
and I ventured out one night to a rooftop bar with the Parroquia church spire in view.
But I had the time wrong and it was going to be an hour before the live music
started and my friends arrived (hopefully).

I ordered a glass of wine and waited.

It was hard to sit there alone - I tried not to panic and leave.
Many minutes passed . . .

Then I remembered I had a folded piece of paper and pencil in my purse.
I took them out and began to draw the cathedral tower in blind contour - not looking at the page -
just following the forms - my attention completely with the thing itself.

I wrote next to the drawing -

Then I realized I hadn't described the church tower - so I added on either side of it -

And at that moment I knew I was describing myself -
"Many chambered - silent - calm" and something settled inside -
I was fearful - and also calm . . .
I looked out at the people around me and noticed something new - like a veil lifting -
and wrote at the bottom of the page -

All of us - just like me.

Two minutes later my friends Maureen and Michael arrived - the band started up -
the dancing began. I went up to a man who was sitting alone. I put out my hand and said -
"Would you like to dance ? "

And I joined in the connection and flow and happiness.

Here is the whole page !

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Two Brush Books

Last week I was teaching The Calligraphic Line at Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale NY.
We made books out of brushstrokes and then added some text to invite further insight.


This is a lively book form I learned many years ago
from the wonderful book artist and letterpress printer Clifford Burke.

Here is how it works -
First we wrote a large word with brush on a sheet of paper 18" x 24" .
When the ink was dry we turned it over and wrote another word filling the page,
then folded it down three times into a signature, cut the side edges open,
sewed the pages together along the spine and read our accidental sequence of marks.

I have added on to this process by inviting words - responding to the strokes in an intuitive way - placing the text to balance the marks - letting the narrative unfold mysteriously until
you reach the end. It always seems to resolve and reveal the moment.

Here is my accidental book . . .


We made some big brushstrokes and let them dry overnight.
The next morning we cut small windows in cover stock and picked out fragment squares
from within the strokes. These were pasted onto the panels of a folded strip of paper,
a cover was added, and then some words landed . . .

How I love to watch the creative process emerge
within a community of makers - food for the spirit . . .