Another summer almost gone, and this fall I will complete my classes with the theme of Absence & Presence. One of the strongest images I return to on this subject is from reading the artist, Bill Viola. He is talking about his work at the Durham Cathedral in Northern England. After working hard for days, he finds himself alone at night in the Great Hall. It is dark and quiet and his senses are open. It is the kind of alone where there are no distractions, where he could feel the presences in the 900 year old stone. This is how he describes what happened::
Something struck me that night, when I was alone, taking a rest: the materiality of the church momentarily parted, revealing a deeper structure embedded in its form. I saw another space, a second architecture, lying beneath the surface that had so affected me.
– Bill Viola
"Second architecture" deserves a lot more thought, but I plant the seed here because it is at the root of what I strive for in teaching– to help create an atmosphere that opens to the second architecture, to what seems absent. Sometimes the deeper pattern is rediscovered in concert with others who are holding the silence. At moments in class, the silence thickens, along with presences. The work that comes from this place is compelling. Bill Viola continues:
If you want to experience the essential mystery or the secret life of “things” then be there with them, awake when the rest of the world is sleeping.
– Bill Viola
The theme for my classes in 2019 is: Quintessence: The Fifth Element. We will be working with the four elements, the four seasons, and the fifth element, quintessence. The Greeks called this element aether, and the medieval alchemists called it quintessence.
There are still some openings in the class at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico in October 2019.
This class stands apart– it is an exploration of image and intuition through study of the Tarot, painting and writing:
There are some exciting places coming in 2020: My annual spring retreats in Taos and at St Meinrad Archabbey are places I look forward to returning to every year. Beginning in 2020, the St Meinrad retreat will be for advanced calligraphers who want to go further...
In the fall I will teach with three other calligraphers, bookmakers and painters in Tuscany, Italy: Birgit Nass, Mari Emily Bohley and Massimo Polello.
There is time to plan, but the class fills quickly:
I am also looking forward to teaching in Switzerland and Germany in the fall of 2020. More details to come..... What are you interested in studying? I'd love to hear from you.