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 -