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

For upcoming classes and events
visit my website – BarbaraBash.com

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Drawing in Ireland

It sounds like such a nice idea -
but it takes a certain brave leap to do it,
stepping into that unknown relationship with the world - and one's self -
and letting something land on the page.

Here is what landed as I wandered around Ireland in October.
Each time I drew (sometimes just for a few minutes) I felt better, more engaged with my life.
and each object I spent time with reflected back some quality in me.
The words I added revealed why I had chosen that thing to be with.

My drawing process takes some courage to enter,
stepping into dialogue with a resonant object .
What is my connection to it ? Can I meet it ? Will it meet me ?
I finally jump in, the pencil touches the paper, begins to move
as my eye touches the object - eye and hand joined.
And then some magic happens.
I am with this world, the world is with me,
reflecting who I am and why I chose this thing.
I know it now - I know myself.
The world and me together.

I wandered around the Archaeological Museum in Dublin one afternoon,
gazing on the ancient shapes - waistbands, necklaces, earrings
that seemed scaled for enormous bodies - who WERE these people ?

I stop in front of a simple mount (perhaps for a belt or clasp ?)
and trace the pattern - settling in . . .


Time stretches out and then suddenly it's five minutes to closing.
I gather three simple strong forms on the page -


At the Decorative Arts Museum I walk into the Asian gallery
and pause in front of this cheerful bird. I bring the shape into the sketchbook.


The next day I take the train west to Galway and walk on the promenade along the wide bay.
There are people swimming in the frigid water ! I point this out to an elderly woman as we
both stand under a shelter waiting for the rain to pass. She says, in that lilting Irish way,
"Oh yes, I swim everyday. Keeps me healthy. Never get a cold !"
My impression of her completely opens and changes.

The rain stops. I see a high hill in the distance and decide to walk there -


As I find my way along the rocky beach empty of people I being to worry that the tide will rush in
and I'll be trapped. Then I worry that I'll stumble, sprain my ankle, not be able to move.
When I make it to the top of the cliff and lean over the edge I worry that the ground
will give way under me. So many worries carried along !

It is windy, cold and bright up there. I open the sketchbook and catch some of the moving lines
with my pencil - no time for color (will add that later ) just a moment of touching the page.
I pack up and head back down the hill. The ground does not give way,
the tide does not entrap, the rocks do not throw me off.


I make it all the way back to a warm cafe just as the sky opens and the rain starts up again.

8 comments:

scribelaine said...

Thank you, Barbara, for your gift of observation and clarity, such welcome relief from all the news not fit to print in my email inbox. Your words and illustrations bring a sense of peace, a meditation. They acknowledge that the scenes and mind that inspired them are also reality in the current climate. They bring hope. May you keep wandering with open wonder, and share what you see.

I also love your sharing your fear vulnerability. All the "what if" are also part of our true nature. Your journey and journal speak to the phrase: "Let the unknown be your guide."

Barbara Bash said...


Thank you for all of this - and taking the time to write it out . . . It is a journey of trust to make it to posting - stepping through doubt that anyone will pause to take in what I have to offer. Hearing how it landed for you is nourishment for me.

l said...

I loved this post, Barbara, for so many reasons. Thank you so much for your courage and chronicle-ing pen.

Kamila Havlíková said...

Barbara, thank you for this post. I especially love your description of drawing process, the fear in the beginning and the connection with the object. The brush or pen then begins to dance in its own rhythm almost without a control - and that´s the moment of deeper connection with life... Such is my own experience and I feel it from your words and pictures, too. It´s beautiful to share such deep and subtle experience across the ocean. Thank you.

Lisa Freedman said...

Beautiful. Thank you, Barbara, for taking us through time and space --- ancient spear, bell or rattle, and bird, along with views from beneath and on the cliff. Hooray to brave leapers like the swimmers and like you the notebook keeper. Beautiful!

Barbara Bash said...

Cheered by all these responses - feeling a dialogue going on - all of us knowing this process of engaging with uncertainty and having it open us to something important and alive - yes to brave “swimmers” everywhere - b

Michele said...

I loved the courage of your reaching out--over the Atlantic, to the mountaintop, the pencil to the page, hand to the dancer. Your blog to us. Thank you!

Chris Rifenburg said...

I love this so much. Your courage and creative energy continue to be an inspiration. Thank you for posting this. I just read your Saguaro Cactus book to my seventh graders yesterday. We are making clay cactii!