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

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Saturday, December 9, 2023

In the Middle School

I spent the last three days as an Artist-in-Residency at Union Vale Middle School working with over one hundred 7th graders in five classes and forty-five minute sessions.

Christopher Rifenburg is the art teacher who has brought me in to work with his classes for many years. This time we had to follow a very distilled timing and work with larger numbers.

I poured out the deep and direct 1 - 2 - 3 teachings based on my True Nature book exercises. I guided the students in the uncertain and alive line of blind contour drawing. I demonstrated choosing three objects, drawing them in relation to each other on the page, adding words that revealed simple insights and then dropped in some watercolor. I had about ten minutes in each class to bring it all forth with the students gathered around me, then sent them off to dive in for themselves.

I have a deep respect and appreciation for what Chris and all Middle School teachers are working with these post-pandemic days. 

Who knows what landed in their young souls. 

Trusting the goodness of the offering.

Here is the freshness that showed up . . . 

zoom in to catch the lively details.


After my residency was over Chris worked with the students to bring their drawings, watercolor and words together on the page. Here are some of the results. There is a lot of care and affection in these drawings and the words are direct and true. 

Seeds were planted and something observant, attentive and wonderful came forth.


  1. Such intense, large-scale teaching of vibrant, delicate details. Inspiring!

  2. thank you - just added in some of the student's work that came forth !

  3. Love how you opened the eyes of young people to take in the little details in our world that often go unseen. How great it would be if all students had you awakening their minds. I particularly love the one that describes you as mentor, including a sketch of you. This person saw the inner you as you saw the students. May you keep on gifting others with your sense of the world.