Welcome to my blog’s new “look.”
After I included my drawing of the little ballerina in my post In the Temple of my Daily Life, Susan suggested to me I look through my drawings and see if there was one that I’d like to use as part of a new look for the header of my blog. I knew right away which one I would pick.
I made the mixed media drawing called “Listening to the Earth” in a large spiral bound sketchbook way back in 1999.
It depicts a state of attentiveness to the world that lights it up and encourages healing for me. I can always feel this by being still and laying down on the earth. And this drawing reminds me that I have that power. We all do.
I have drawn and painted off and on all my life. I began to draw and paint again in short spurts whenever I was able to because right after my diagnosis of MS in 1996 I made a list of things I had done enough of, and things I hadn’t done enough of. Making art was in that second column.
I don’t remember why now, but once I made this particular drawing I wanted to have a copy of it that wasn’t in the spiral bound notebook so I brought it down to the copy shop a couple of blocks from my house and asked them to print a few copies and try to get the colors the same as in the sketchbook drawing. While I was there, the woman who is the customer service manager at our co-op and coordinates the art shows there came in, and happened to see the drawing as I was putting it away. I was getting ready to be embarrassed because she would think it was childish or untrained, but she said it was beautiful, and that she would buy a print of something like that. Then she said I ought to have a show at the co-op. I hadn’t shown a piece of art since I was a teenager. I objected, saying the process of framing would be too taxing for me (which it would have been then, and can be exhausting even now), and she simply smiled and said, “Well, someday then. Take your time. And let me know.”
I thought and thought about it off and on for years, but did not have the consistent energy or ability to create new work I thought was good enough, or to frame anything or coordinate everything it would take to put together a show, even at the co-op. But I still occasionally drew or painted, when my arms and hands would allow me to. To articulate what Betty Edwards, author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain would call an “L-Mode” criticism, I didn’t think anyone else would be interested in such “scribbling.”
Each June Moscow celebrates Art Walk, which always starts on a Friday. Many businesses show art and keep their doors open all evening. The whole downtown is one big art opening, with people strolling and enjoying local art, music and refreshments. Children make chalk art on the pavement of Friendship Square. Our community radio station KRFP also opened its doors this past June with “The People’s Art Show”—which was all artwork done by station members. When the station put out the call for art, I knew my time had come. Thanks to this wonderful way of eating. I was now well enough to hoof it a couple of miles out to the mall (with Romeo assisting), buy some lightweight inexpensive frames, carry them back home, and frame a few pieces for the show. “Listening to the Earth” was one of those pieces.
Eating low fat plant-based whole foods has given me back the stamina to pursue my creative life in ways I did not expect. It also literally helps me “Listen to the Earth” in settings I never expected to experience first hand, like the beautiful Clackamas River where Mike and Kelly “took the plunge” last month. And now it’s got me obsessed with making visual art again.
I will always be grateful to the woman at the Co-op who first made me look at my drawings again as if someone else besides me might enjoy them, and that she kept the door open until I was ready and able to accept her invitation to show them. This coming February, I will be having my very own art show at the Moscow Food Co-op. “Listening to the Earth” may be on the wall again, but there will be new work as well. I feel many friends in the present and teachers from the past supporting me as I spread my art wings once again.
The mostly wordless realm of spatial relationships, interconnected lines, color, light and shadow has called me back into it this summer. That call is irresistible to me. Although it’s very hard to find words for what that’s like, I’ll try to show more about my timeless time “there” as I am able to.
But for now, I hope you enjoy the colors and spirit of “Listening to The Earth.” In my view, it really is the state of being that makes miracles possible.