Almost Beltane

Almost Beltane

Maypole dancing (

“For thee, sweet month; the groves green liveries wear.
If not the first, the fairest of the year;
For thee the Graces lead the dancing hours,
And Nature’s ready pencil paints the flowers.
When thy short reign is past, the feverish sun
The sultry tropic fears, and moves more slowly on.”
–  John Dryden 

The Reciprocal Relationship Between Subject and Object

One of the most important things I have learned from Laura Simms, my storytelling mentor, is to see storytelling as a living reciprocal event. The storyteller is telling the story to the audience while the audience is simultaneously informing the storyteller; they are bringing forth the story together.

I woke up this morning realizing that this is what happens with the drawing process, with conscious art, as well. While I am perceiving/drawing something, that something is also perceiving me.

I am deeply listening to the bird sing. When I am listening in this way, the bird is also aware of me. This is what it means to live in the world with an enlivened soul. An enlivened soul is a participant in a living reciprocal event. Drawing is not necessary for this to happen, but it can become a means to bring this about. One’s entire body and being are used to cultivate ensoulment.* I can see by the red line that ensoulment is apparently not a word. I would like to keep it anyway.

G. I. Gurdjieff was known to say, “Let the observer become the observed.” I used to think that meant that instead of observing others I should observe myself. I didn’t think of it in this way. Consciousness must have this quality of living reciprocal relationship. If we are to “wake up,” as admonished by Gurdjieff, Christ, and others, we become part of a “new world” of reciprocal acknowledgement and perceiving. Maybe the trees and birds have been waiting ever so patiently for eons for us humans to “get it.”

Looking up the word eon for spelling, I came upon this definition:

Eon:1:(Gnosticism) a divine power or nature emanating from the Supreme Being and playing various roles in the operation of the universe; 2:the longest division of geological time; 3:an immeasurably long period of time.

“Calling forth the world” is a phrase that came to me as well. By being deeply attentive to myself and to another being or element at the same time, I am “calling forth the world.”

* There is a difference between sketching and drawing. I have felt that this is so and that what I am doing is drawing, not sketching. Maybe because I don’t have the skill level to sketch, I must draw. When I try to sketch, I feel uncomfortable, as if I am not paying due respect to what is in front of me.

As a teacher, there’s a huge difference, for example, between a sketch and a study. They can be called the same thing. A sketch is something that’s sketchy. Looking is sketchy. A study is where you’re studying with your body… (Jane Rosen, Parabola Magazine Interview, Spring 2012–

Looking With Your Whole Body

This is it! This is a huge part of what I am trying to do. Thanks to Facebook and Parabola Magazine.

And there’s a shift that happens when I’m drawing or when I’m looking at the dog or a horse or looking at someone in my mind’s eye, there’s a shift where something in me listens, but not with my ears. There’s another kind of listening. It’s kind of like from the knees up to the shoulders is like a receiver or a satellite dish allowing something to come in almost through my middle. It could be seeing who someone is. It could be seeing the dog in the gallery when the owner said, my dog doesn’t need water.

JR:  Yes. So, I’m standing in the gallery when a woman walks in with a dog and the dog is saying to me, I want water. It was a big Bernese mountain dog. I could see it in the dog’s posture, it’s presence—but it’s a double thing, seeing the dog and also a listening in yourself. So I asked the woman, Would you mind if I gave your dog a bowl of water? And she said, “Oh, my dog has had water and isn’t thirsty.” So I said to the girls at the gallery, do you have a bowl? They gave me this big stainless steel bowl and I went to the bathroom and filled it with water and came back. The woman says again, adamantly, “Trust me. It’s my dog and it’s not thirsty!” Well, as soon as I put the bowl down, the dog started drinking and practically drank the entire huge bowl of water. Then it licked my hand. [laughs]

RW:  That is really a seeing, but not what we think of.

rosen6 JR:  Right. But seeing isn’t what we think it is. What we call seeing is “looking.” Looking is when you go out and you look at something. You have a number of facts about that thing and you put them together as a mental construct. Okay? When students in my class look at the model often they are not seeing it. Paul Klee said to his students, “Yes. I want to draw what I see, but first you must see what you draw.”

RW:  I agree, we don’t see very much, but what is it when someone stops and keeps looking and then starts to see more, literally.

JR:  To me, the act of seeing is coming into an understanding of the whole of what’s occurring.

Tikkun Olam, “Repair of the World”

Mallot a deserving recipient of award

COMPASS: Other points of view

Published: April 25th, 2012 07:15 PM
Last Modified: April 25th, 2012 07:15 PM

Throughout the year, Congregation Beth Sholom and its members strive to live by the Jewish philosophy of tikkun olam, “repair of the world.” According to one version of this philosophy’s origin, at one time a perfect world shattered and sent shards of creation all over. The world was broken. It is our responsibility to assemble the shards, to raise them to the light. We meet this responsibility through our actions, individually and collectively…

If one man can do so very much, then imagine the possibilities of all of us rising to the occasion, taking our places and repairing the world we all inhabit.

Read more here:

Getting Ready for Drawing 8

I wrote this in writing practice  today (topic: stitched to the earth):

Enough detail to seem real but enough left to imagine. I love this kind of balance. I like to feel that a painting or drawing happens in a real place yet has something present that is not immediately discernible. Some evocation of that which is beyond the senses. Caress the divine details. The details must have an aura or they are dead.

I am inspired by Marc Chagall, click to enlarge
Marc Chagall: Le marchand de journaux, 1914.

I am surprised that the picture was inserted into the blog! This painting is particularly grounded compared to others he has done. I will look at more of his work.

With the ingredients of “stitched to the earth,” and spending some time finding what it is about Chagall’s work, I will soon begin the next drawing.