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 -



Robertaindia said...

It’s so wonderful to Sit and feel a spacious nourishment from your words and images. Thank you!

Barbara Bash said...

thanks so much for pausing and just taking it in . . .

Mindful Sprouts said...

Wow. Joining you on the river this morning - what an unexpected delight! Thank you.

BRT said...

All lectures and crits exhorting elaborate dogma of composition always sounded like gibberish to me. Eventually I read an Asian practice: dominant, subdominant, and subordinate. Three forms. That made sense. As of course your serendipity of threes. Thanks!

Aerin Dunford said...

Love it! Beautiful flow and unfolding.

Lisa @ Breathe Read Write said...

1. one end of paddle 2. the intrepid Barbara Bash! 3. other end of paddle

It's so nice to see and read about what you saw on your beautiful pages and also to see you in the beautiful photograph. Thank you!

scribelaine said...

Love the simplicity and spaciousness of your words and images ... the wide openness of what isn't on the page ... a visual and word meditation ... like a haiku floating through space. Have always admired the authenticity of the way you approach your life, Barbara. Thank you for sharing it.

Barbara Bash said...

Looking over these comments from all of you -
wish I could respond individually - or haven't figured that out yet -

Appreciating what each of you said - gives me some wind in my sails -
or energy in the paddle !
sending it back to all . . . b