Friday, February 24, 2012

drawing on experience...

Tell me when this seems familiar....
I do a lot of drawing and art in general. In fact, once a week, on a morning usually stiff and tired from the previous night's training, I attend a drawing class focusing on the human figure (the hardest overall subject to master artistically). Many of the other people there have been going for years, while I've been going the past few months. The work is humbling, yet the small achievements are very fulfilling.
While usually I sit alone and zone out into my own little world, this past week there was not as much room as normal so I set up next to a lady--likely the oldest person in the room. I went to work, creating detailed, intricate sketches which although I liked, I didn't feel were my best pieces. The lady next to me took a keen interest in what I was doing and praised several of my works. She was both sweet and kind.
"A lot of detail," she commented with a knowing smile.
But after awhile, I began to struggle a bit with my images. I was losing the flow and focus of the pictures. So, stepping back from my paper, I decided to watch the older lady, who was using the most simplistic of tools, a paint brush and a pot of ink. I was delighted to see her work: The cleanest lines; the smallest effort; the most accurate depictions. I was in awe at how loosely but confidently her images were formed. I abandoned my own work and just watched her for a long while.
Is it age? We have all witnessed the sensei who, in his/her maturity, whips the student around without effort or folly. We have all been blown away by the master who seems to "know" things no one else does, and utilize his/her tools more effectively than a less experienced individual could ever hope to achieve.
This little woman was like a real life yoda with a brush. She left out so many useless details in order to make a more coherent body of work. And she was teaching me without so much as a word.
Lesson learned.... again. From now on, I sit next to the elder, kind and talented lady and hope to learn a few things from her experience.
It's all so familiar, to me.

Friday, February 17, 2012

stagnation vs. time away

Luckily, my stagnation in blogging this month has not been mirrored in other areas of my life such as martial arts. Truth be told, I haven't had access to any form of computer technology at home. However, I am settling in to a new routine in a more public environment that seems to be working for me. Hopefully, it will keep me from being a total hermit this winter, as I am fighting the desire to curl up in a ball and wait for the spring weather to arrive. It's strange for me, since this has been the warmest winter I can remember in my entire life. But it is damp; I've become recently unemployed for the first time in almost a decade; and I'm a bit anti-social. (Except online).
My isolation, though, has produced peace of mind in many unexpected ways, including a lack of mainstream media influence in my life. Quite frankly, not being exposed to radio news feeds, constant advertising campaigns on the street, and TV clips of "wars and rumours of war" has had a purifying aspect in my life. Ignorance, albeit for a little while, has been blissful (if not sustainable). I know the world won't go away, nor can problems be ignored forever, but a small break from the madness has been welcome.
And hopefully writing again will help keep me grounded a bit--and get me physically and mentally out into the world again. As well as being on the mats each time I go to class.
But I will continue to indulge in a little bit of winter hibernation, even if it's just manifested in a bit more media ignorance.