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

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Drawing on Nantucket

I held a workshop this past month in my family cottage
on the eastern end of the island, one hundred steps from the ocean.
The cottage housed six women and myself for four days.
We drew and wrote, swam and napped, took walks and bike rides, and talked deeply.

Here is what came through in my sketchbooks . . .

On the first morning we began with three blind contour drawings of our non-dominant hand,
letting our lines relax from the burden of "checking back".

Then we wrote three phrases in relation to the drawings -
- the observation - what it is
- its texture, pattern or nature
- the feeling - a closer look inside
(later a little color was added to the page)

(click on the images to enlarge)

Next we chose one natural object and drew it from different angles -

Later in the day we became immersed in drawing shells. 
I demonstrated the sensing line that gradually drew forth the exquisite forms . . .

On the second day I asked everyone to choose three different natural forms
you could hold in your hand and draw them on the page together.
The first thing we drew represented the "heaven" principle and expressed the space
(the arching clematis vine here).
The second object counterbalanced and grounded the page with "earth" (the dying ligularia leaf).
The third was the "human" expression (the carex flower standing upright).
Again words were added at the end, revealing perhaps a deeper truth.

We walked over to Pochick Street one block away
(named after the Pochick riptide right offshore) and drew the little houses
inspired by fishermen cottages that had been built in the 1880's. 
I started with something big - the clouds of hydrangeas, then balanced with the climbing roses, 
and completed the page with the little mermaid basking.

Still on Pochick Street - having a conversation between form and space . . .

On the third day we drove out to Sankaty lighthouse, looking out over the ocean and moors,
and let the world draw us in, working loose and in the moment.

When the workshop was over I stayed on in the house for a few days,
adjusting gradually to the solitude after so much good conversation and connection. 

I walked back down Pochick Street with my sketchbook
and settled in with the architecture and the flowers.

Then on the last morning I biked away from the village and walked across the grassy dunes
to a far off beach of cross currents and forceful waves. 

This was the place to end - alone, exposed, content . . .