Mindful of the passage of time, I have begun the process of sorting and letting go of possessions. Trust me, this will take years and I don't know if I can offload enough so that what's left when I make my exit won't still burden those left behind (I'm hoping not to make an exit anytime soon but who knows).
In recycling some old journals I found this ten-minute pencil sketch from 1983. It was fading away.
I've always loved it and the memory it brought back, so I saved it and recycled the rest of the journal. I traced the graphite with a Micron 005 and here you have it.
Then I decided to take it further and add some shading (below). Did I ruin it or enhance it? I'm not sure. I know I'm glad I thought to take a photo of the original before I did anything else.
This was early on in my drawing career (not that I actually HAVE a drawing career). Probably shortly after I had read Betty Edwards' wonderful book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.
I remember exactly where I was when I drew this, even the time of day, and the scents and sounds around me. The iris was a rich, deep purple and was embedded in a fabulously beautiful late spring garden in New York State. It took ten minutes to draw and during that time my happiness increased a thousand percent.
Such is the power of drawing.
No matter how bad a drawing is, somehow it's always more powerful than a photo. For me, anyway.
Isn't it odd how we don't get the roses without also getting the thorns. Just like life.
As the saying goes, "it's been a week."
A death in the family stirred things up for me and for everyone who knew and loved the person. In times like this, I am grateful for my meditation practice. I was able to sit with the feelings, seeing them for what they are, and not run away from either the pain or the blessings. Those thorns were sharp and surprised me repeatedly. But the roses, in the form of kind and funny memories, have been worth it and will continue to be so.
And given what has been happening in the world right now, (tragedies too numerous to name), I know I am not alone in feeling that this week has been a tough one.
May we all seek and find our inner peace.
Ok, so maybe it IS odd. I had a lot of fun doing this. One thing about these knots--no matter how attractive or unattractive the result--they totally focus the mind while drawing. So much so that no other thinking happens. Or if it does, it is completely ignored in favor of focusing on the drawing.
I find this fascinating and reminiscent of certain meditative states. Quiet mind. Ahhhhhh...a treasure in today's world.
"We learn the rope of life by untying its knots." --Jean Toomer
"Those are the same stars, and that is the same moon, that look down upon your brothers and sisters, and which they see as they look up to them, though they are ever so far away from us, and each other." --Sojourner Truth
Great Jumpin' Jehosophat, would you believe it took me no less than SIX tries to get this knot done correctly? (I used a different, non-publishable word while catching all my errors and trying to figure it out, not the initial three words at the start of this paragraph. Use your imagination.) The tangle around the outside of the knot is called A'dalfa. It was new to me and I had fun with it. But the knot! OMG. I'm knot sure why it was so hard for me.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.”
Um, Eleanor, I think I have news for you.
I like this version better. A friend prefers the version below. The mystery of how we see color and our differing color preferences is always intriguing.
For this version, I took what I had below and used my Prismacolor pencils to enliven the colors. And also got a bit dotty. And added some graphite shading. And layered in more colored pencil. And, and, and...
This is the version my friend prefers, and it's the the original. It's all done in watercolor. I like it. I just like the one above better.
Microns 08 and 01 in black, watercolor pencils, graphite. Tangle around the edge is Foundabout, and I've used the Micron 01 to do some hatching as well.
Let me just add that it took me SIX TRIES to get this knot right. Talk about brain exercise.
Continuing the series here. Tangles are Debbie New's Imaritas and Imarisen, based on the painted pottery she saw at a museum.
And here was the sketch before I added the color:
The knots are like wonderful puzzles--it's nearly impossible to think other thoughts while figuring them out. Very relaxing, as long as one adopts what the is often called "don't-know-mind" in Zen and other meditative traditions.
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), a long-time meditator, a certified meditation teacher and coach, and focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society