Sunday, April 12, 2015

sunday grace: finding the things that save you

i'm constantly telling my students (who are front-line child abuse responders) that in order to survive in their careers and maintain integrity, compassion and energy for the work, they have to discover, mindfully practice and enjoy the things that save them in "real" life.  i practice what i preach.  for me, the short list includes art, yoga, flowers, cooking, dogs, the forest and learning something new.

i was lucky to combine three of these, dogs and learning something new...on saturday at beautiful TOOLRY, a creative workspace downtown.  (see more TOOLRY here and here and here.)  i participated in a charcoal drawing class led by artist laura pharis.

the workshop was a bit outside my comfort zone.  i have not worked with charcoal before and my creative preferences lean toward using color in bold and abstract and messy ways.  drawing exact and realistic details in black is not something i would intuitively move toward.  but i know that learning new techniques is one of the ways to be a fuller artist.

(also saving me:  a box full of new art stuffs.)

we started with exploring the structure of the figure by drawing a skeleton and understanding the armature of the human shape.  i'm kind of loving the bones right now and can't wait to integrate them into my mixed media pieces.

puppy breaks are very helpful when you are learning something new.  this is emma.  she is the newest member of the TOOLRY family.

after a few hours of the foundations of using charcoal and drawing the human form, we were ready to move into gesture drawing and figure drawing with our model, the lovely sarah.

oh this empty white space.  i'll be honest, i was a bit tentative here.

starting with scribbling and practice and erasing always helps.  once the blank page is marked (with charcoal or paint or the first few words) it becomes much less intimidating.

after a series of two-minute gesture drawings, it was time for another puppy break.

in the first few stages of the live drawing, i fell in love with this abstract, picasso-esque sarah and the ghosts on the page.  i was tempted to stay here, but i came to learn and practice a specific skill, so i moved forward into a more realistic version.

i'm pretty happy with the final version.  but the experiences of the day were the real sources of happiness here: play, exploration, courage, kindness and creativity.  these are the things that saved me.

what is saving you this weekend?