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

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Friday, August 14, 2020

On the River

I took a kayak out on the Rondout Creek behind my house the other day. 

Brought my sketchbook along, though having it with me felt like a pressure to DO something with the experience. I packed it anyway. 

Drawing can be such a connecting activity - with one's self and the world. But getting on the page is not that simple (I have written about this before ! ) 

I let my irritated, easily pressured part be there, along for the ride. 

It felt good to push off, glide away from shore - so quiet and yet full of insects pulsing, water moving, birds calling out. 

I pulled over close to the far shaded edge and was drawn in to the pattern of rocks lining the shore - then up to the hanging leaves - and close at hand in the water. I like to work in threes . . .

I drew with pencil - planning to drop in some color when back on land. 

Then I added a description of each element on the page. 

Starting with rocks along the edge - mirrored . . .

Following the leaves up the vine - climbing

Clusters of bubbles - tiny - close - nameless. 



I paddled across the water toward some grasses, which turned out to be young cattails on the bank. 

I worked my way down the page from the waving stalks to the broad rocks to the calm water.  

Delicate cattails

Smooth & lined stones

Glassy slow flowing water 


Then I moved close to the upstream rapids, finding a quiet cove to park and gaze - everything rushing and jumping along, channeled by the dark shapes. 

Rock and water

Stillness - movement

rushing river place



Looking back now I see the three pages as a larger progression that I moved through - 

First - the quiet edge - the encompassing view

Second - the rich layering - textured - complex

Third - the rushing waters - life moving - uncertain

I returned to shore refreshed. 



You can find a fuller explanation of this three part drawing practice in the 2nd edition of my book -

True Nature: An Illustrated Journal of Four Seasons in Solitude 

Available from the publisher's bookstore

or from Amazon -


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

In the Laundry Room

I am living in Colorado Springs right now,
in residence for four months at Colorado College
learning how to teach my mindfulness art practices online in this new world,
also hosting NVC and circle practices for the college on zoom.
Hopefully I'll be returning to the Hudson Valley in mid-May.

I am sequestered in a nice old house near campus that is divided into
apartments for visiting faculty, but I'm the only one in the building these days.
Here it is, surrounded by spring snow . . .

I couple of weeks ago I realized that the laundry room off the kitchen would make a nice studio -
so I moved in - stretched out ! It is sunny and spacious with big tables and a washer and dryer of course. I do my brush work here and my zoom calls, as well as African dance classes and even
some cello playing (rented one in town).

I put some lively letters on the wall -
always good to have the alphabet at my back . . .

I am taking walks each day with my face mask on,
staying in contact - with myself - with others - with the world -
and the creative spirit through it all . . .

Here is one of the little books I've made recently.
using fragments of big brush strokes for the imagery.

May this journey nourish you during these difficult times.