Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pen, Paint & Mary Oliver

My workshop with Laurie Doctor was just what I needed. One cannot rush through calligraphy. You have to be fully present, relaxed and in the moment. And Laurie made sure of that. Each day began with stretching, balancing and relaxation exercises. Mindfulness. Silence. Shifting from the outside world to the inner space within ourselves, the space from which we create. If it had only been a one day workshop, I would have not made the shift, but as early as day 2, I was "in the zone." And poetry! Laurie can recite poetry from memory and loves a stage, so we started each day with poetry. For the workshop, we focused on one by Wallace Stevens, but of course Mary Oliver was in the classroom as well. (You can listen to Mary her read her poetry here.) Poetry is a wonderful inspiration for art. Many of us use music to relax, energize and/or inspire, but the visual images contained in poetry revealed a door to visual art that I had not yet opened. Laurie (and Wallace and Mary) provided the key. It wasn't important to me how well I did, I just wanted to create. I was able to leave that pesky critic back here in DC and just create.

As you might imagine, there is an enormous difference between being the teacher and being the student. Now I truly understand why you all take so many classes. There's nothing better than uninterrupted time creating art with like-minded souls, and even better when you are with friends. The group I met when I taught there last September took me into their fold and Peggy, my hostess, was a Mom and a sister all rolled into one. I even got to attend her granddaughter's 1st birthday party. I was one of the family.

Then no sooner did I get home, it was back into left-brained mode, packing and preparing to tape 2 classes for the Quilting Arts Festival. I was up before 4am Tuesday to hop a 6:40am flight to Boston and then back in my bed by 10 pm the same day. Yesterday was recovery day and lunch with Dad and today...what will today hold. I hope it's an art day, the ideas and inspiration are flying, whirling, ready to fly off my fingertips. But the cupboard is bare, bills to pay and Easter is upon us. I'm so used to hopping between the dual sides of my life, forever the multi-tasker, arting on the run. I am fortunate that I can be 'in the zone' at will. But I sure would like another 4 days of uninterrupted art time. One of my favorite quotes comes to mind - The object isn't to make art, it's to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable. ~ Robert Henri. I'm there, I'm there.

For those of you waiting for the Common Thread Self-Portrait photos, sit tight. I should have them up by the weekend.

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