Category Archives: Drawing Series 1: Things Are Alive

Things Are Alive 10

Graceful Afternoon (City Market)

After I had chosen the boundaries for the drawing and had begun to draw, the person on the right sat down.  I didn’t see her face. As I drew her,  the thought passed through my mind that her hair looked like Grace Merritt’s hair. But it was a fleeting thought and I was intent on the drawing process. When she left, engrossed in the drawing process, I still saw only her back. Later in the day, Grace walked into Snow City Cafe to see Anda, who was setting up her art show for First Friday. I immediately recognized the sweater and the hair. I had been drawing Grace, Anda and Ben’s roommate! Thus, the caption for the drawing presented itself.

Things Are Alive 9

A Chugach Peek

I was drawn to the bridge joining Nordstrom’s and Penney’s for several reasons. There’s a coffee stand right inside Nordie’s; Anda and I often go there to sit and talk or journal in the middle of a shopping spree. It’s a comfortable place to sit and draw both city and mountains– and comfort is my middle name!  An unanticipated effect happened after I finished drawing. I looked at the Penney’s Parking Garage, which is a shade of bright yellow (not my favorite in such large proportions)– and– I felt a sense of affection for it! The attention I had put into the drawing process had taken my mind beyond its normal reaction patterns.

Things Are Alive 8

Anchorage from Point Woronzof

I did this drawing from Point Woronzof. This is one of the classic shots of Anchorage, usually done with a telephoto lens, which I did not have. In the foreground are chunks of leftover ice floating in the Cook Inlet which have been deposited by the tide upon the mud flats. It was only when I arrived back home that I realized how the process of doing the drawing had changed my perspective. I felt like I was in somebody else’s house and was extra aware of the walls, floor, furniture in a new way. My goal in doing these drawings it to notice the effects of the process on myself and to learn about how to set intentions related to that. This session was particularly powerful in that regard.

Things Are Alive 7

Denali's View

This drawing was particularly fun to do. I wanted to draw Susitna (Sleeping Lady) and the Inlet, and it was a clear-sky day. I didn’t know that I would end up drawing the inside of the car and the view in the mirrors, or Denali (Mt. McKinley, the tallest point in North America). Before heading for this spot, I stopped at Side Street Espresso to fuel up. While I was there I was engaged in an exercise of inner attention that had altered my perspective.

Previously I had noted that there was very little in the way of scenery in the room that seemed interesting. I felt I had mined the interest from the place the last time I was there to draw. However, as I followed the inward focus, I began to feel enlivened in my senses. I began to feel that everything was equally interesting and alive, that every moment of waiting for my soup was infinitely sweet and compelling. No matter where I turned it was the same. I had a sense that there was no limit to anything, that everything could be penetrated kind of like it was a bottomless pit.

It certainly seems that  I carried that perspective with me to my drawing spot, and the unexpected results were due to that preparation.


Things Are Alive 5

An Evening in the Kitchen

On this morning I was paying particular attention to the things in my house. I see that each object is here because I/we chose to bring it here. Each object imported involved decision-making, time, and energy as well as financial expenditure. I have invested quite a lot of energy and attention in making these things a part of my life! It occurred to me that the surroundings we create for ourselves– our personal landscape–  does have something to say about us, and it tells us who we are over and over again, influencing how we move, what we think about, and who we tell ourselves we are.

Things Are Alive 4

Side Street Espresso

Side Street Espresso is homey, serene, and puts me into “slow time” ( a term borrowed from Waverly Fitzgerald in her book Slow Time: Recovering the Natural Rhythm of Life). I settled into the easy atmosphere and let it do its work on me. The comments on the hutch were made by some people who were there for part of the time I was drawing. The clock with the crucifix on top is pink, and is one item that has always captured my attention.

Every once in a while I get a fleeting taste of the reality that “things ARE alive.” It is a palpably different state than the one I usually live in. It is an astonishing and enlivening fruit of this point of focus!

Things Are Alive 3

Grandma's Sewing Bucket

I wanted to draw something that represented my ancestors. I settled on Grandma’s sewing bucket. It has been part of my life ever since I can remember. Growing up in York, PA, I spent a lot of time at Grandma’s house. I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma hemmed all of my dresses. This brass bucket with the owl pincushion was always beside her as she kneeled on the floor. I followed her instructions to pivot as she pinned up the hems in my dresses. I remember how she soothed me when I was sick by rubbing my stomach in a circular motion and saying, “Maw, maw, maw…” over and over again. Yes, it is true for me that the love lives on. I am grateful to have this object to remember her by– and to my Aunt Karen for allowing me to have it at my house, so far away from my family in York and other spots around the country.

Things Are Alive 2

Things Are Alive 2

I wanted to draw something that represented a higher dimension as my second drawing. The brass statue of Krishna playing the flute sits on my kitchen windowsill. The statue truly seems alive to me, symbolizing as it does the sublime reality that music can convey. It reminds me of Ben playing the Irish flute, which never fails to lighten my spirit. The quote inspires me to continue in my attempts to establish my awareness in something beyond my own small interests; it also reminds me of my indebtedness to those who have gone before me. Which leads to the next drawing…