All’s quiet here in my studio. It’s early morning and I’m swishing gouache around on a page in my sketchbook before anyone, including myself, is fully awake and going. This is all part of an experiment I started about a month ago. And one I hope continues for a very long time.
The Experiment, as I call it, began as a way to combat a sense of overwhelm in my creative life. To be honest, I was hoping for some relief from overwhelm in the rest of life as well, but I simply needed to name and maintain a focus on one thing. In the weeks following surgery, I resumed the way I had previously been working…a kind of preschool centers approach where I flit from one station to another…knitting a little here, weaving a bit there, spinning a lot everywhere, and sketching in between. A familiar addled feeling of being pulled in too many directions led to a serious talk with myself remembering numerous times when I landed in this same place. Here is one and then another just a little while ago. Funny how I come ’round to the same spots.
When I arrive in these places where the whirling dervish of my creative curiosity needs reigning in, I ask myself…What is your one necessity? This question comes blazing out of the haze like a shooting star from Annie Dillard’s piece on Weasels in her book Teaching a Stone to Talk. I first read this book in college and this story in particular spoke to me of living a singular life, focused and enduring through whatever comes my way. It’s a pointed question that can be asked in all areas of one’s life…spiritually, creatively, financially, etc. A month ago I decided to recalibrate and set an intention that I knew from experience would help me greatly.
Drawing in a sketchbook is my one necessity. It is not selling artworks. It is not knitting, or weaving, or spinning even. And though I am loathe to say that about the last three for they are inextricably woven into the fabric of my daily life, it is drawing and painting in a sketchbook that anchors me in the life I’ve been given, opens my eyes to the beauty around me, settles my heart into present moments that are drawcumented in a book. As I age and try to remember past events, it is often the sketchbook pages I drew of those memories that come to mind. Stacks of sketchbooks are stored in a big wooden toy box which I’m sure someday I’ll pull out and look back over. For now, I’ll fill more pages, daily creating a Picture Book of my life.
I like that.❤️
In my next post I’ll describe the basic parameters of The Experiment. So far, these simple guidelines have been do-able and helpful.