Ishful Art


Continuing in the line of favorite artists who have inspired me…Peter Reynolds, an artist and writer of several “children’s” books and whose blog is called The Stellar Cafe.  (If I was really tech-savvy I would make this a link for you, but alas, all I know how to do is place it in the blogroll for you.)  Anyway, I was given his first book, The Dot, several years ago by a friend, and loved the book immensely.  About two and a half years ago I hit what I now call, a “creative crisis”.  It’s difficult even now to put words to what all happened, but I just couldn’t draw or paint.  So many things, both small and large, converged on top of me and choked out the desire to put image to paper.  Last May, I was at the Downtown Children’s Museum in Winston-Salem waiting for a kid’s birthday party to be over that my littlest was attending.  I sat down on a bench and there beside me was a book titled “Ish” .  I recognized the simple drawings and fresh splashes of watercolor and began reading.  By the end of the book tears were streaming down my cheeks.  It worked like Drano, beginning to move out the crud and gunk that had been blocking my creative drain.  I gathered my youngest, drove straight to Border’s to buy my own copy, and read it over and over the next several days, to my kids, to myself, to anyone who would listen.  I also went home and dug out sketchbooks and began to make “ish” drawings.  Like, Ramon, I “felt light and energized.  Drawing ish-ly alowed my ideas to flow freely.  I began to draw what I felt–loose lines.  quckly springing out.  Without worry. I once again drew and drew the world around me.  Making ish drawings felt wonderful!” (quote from the book except written in first person:)


I continue to keep “ishful” sketch journals of my life.  Lately, I have realized that I’ve been overworking them–getting snared again by the thought that I must make fine “Drawings” in my sketch books.  When that happens, I begin to lose the freedom, the joy, the looseness, and worry creeps in along with all that other baggage that clogs the creative pipes.  This is  also helpful in life–it is so much better to parent ishfully, to love my husband and friends ishfully,  to approach everything I put my hand to, not trying to get it right, but simply BE who I was made to be…simply BE.

0 thoughts on “Ishful Art

  1. Shirley says:

    I was again visiting your blog this afternoon, going back a little further and came to this entry. I have both Dot and Ish for my grandchildren and bought them especially for my 4 year old grand daughter who loves to make things – everyday – and never comes in that she doesn’t ask if we can paint. I wanted to start working through a few of Mona Brooks drawing exercises with her from her Drawing with Children book and told Sydney that Vashti’s teacher sent them for her to do. She bought it enthusiastically, and I brought them home to put stars on them from Vashti’s teacher and gave them back – two rounds. Last week she asked for more “homework sheets” from Vashti’s teacher, and then asked if she could go with me when I took them back to her. I emailed Peter Reynolds to tell him what I was doing and was about to get busted, and got the nicest email reply within 8 hours!

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