That’s all my artwork is. My hieroglyphic representation of “Whoa, look at that! No, zoom in. I mean it, REALLY look at that!”
First, a place to sit. Then slowly scan the area until the skip happens, when my glance stutters, and looks back. Something caught my little reptilian brain. Was it a sudden change in texture? Zoom in fast, is there danger?
No, for now we are safe. What is that pop of color in a sea of gray? Need I be concerned?
Ah. We are safe, and we are interested. And now we begin.
I open my sketchbook and start to draw with my fountain pen. Suddenly I realize I am looking at two things: the subject and the sketchbook. “Wow, this is twice as interesting! And those pen lines are really funky!”
After a while the paints come out. And the water cup. (“Hope I don’t dump it on my shoe this time…”) Then the play begins.
Wet, dry. Dark, light. Warm, cool. Loose, tight. So many things to balance all at once!
(Can you hear Khachaturian’s “Saber Dance” yet?)
But here’s the difference.
When I hear that intensely suspenseful song, I smile. I relax. Because I know what I am doing. I am looking, I am seeing. I am taking notes.
I used to fear dropping a sword, breaking a spinning plate, missing the mark. I swam in fear, as do many of my students. But now I am excited because I have discovered it was never really about the artwork, not for me. It was about my ability to notice things other people overlook. I may or may not be able to capture it in a rendering, but no matter.
I was there. There to witness what I was seeing, to show that rock, that leaf, that shadow the same attention I would show a dear friend. I know how to ‘trance’ myself, and I do so whenever I have time.
Because being entranced is not far at all from falling in love.