Before I leap to what is coming in 2019, I want to share some images from the classes I just returned from in St Louis. I am enjoying learning more about the work of Ben Shahn, and seeing the work that the students create. Below are some photos from a few of the students' books:
The part you cannot see is what happens with the focus on absence and presence, the thick presence of time together without any interruptions from our pesky gadgets, and the essence and power of making a mark from this place of attention. Seeing something– your tool, a person, your hand- even for a few moments with unmitigated awareness, changes whatever it is you are regarding. The constant restlessness of wanting to get to the next moment is resolved by dropping fully into the moment you are in.
This idea is so beautifully portrayed by Christian Wiman– diagnosed with incurable cancer and lost in grief– he gives his full attention to a tree outside his window. In the beginning, he is unaware that the tree is covered with birds. He takes up his pencil and begins to write:
Incurable and unbelieving
in any truth but the truth of grieving,
I saw a tree inside a tree
as if the leaves had livelier ghosts.
I pressed my face as close
to the pane as I could get
to watch that fitful, fluent spirit
that seemed a single being undefined
or countless beings of one mind
haul its strange cohesion
beyond the limits of my vision
over the house heavenwards.
Of course I knew those leaves were birds.
Of course that old tree stood
exactly as it had and would
(but why should it seem fuller now?)
and though a man's mind might endow
even a tree with some excess
of life to which a man seems witness,
that life is not the life of men.
And that is where the joy came in.
From A Window, Christian Wiman
The joy comes from the experience of invisible presence, from the something else that gives radiance to your work and your being.
Next I will post what is coming in 2019 classes. I am enthusiastic about beginning 2019 with a workshop with Sabine Danielzig in Taos, New Mexico!
What are you wanting to study? I'd love to hear from you.