Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Are you willing to slow down?

Watercolor

It's Summertime

Time to live easy. Time to dip into that summer reading list.

Right now, I'm reading Slow Love by Dominique Browning. In a jacuzzi. (One sure way to slow myself down enough to read for a long time.)

I've been a fan of Browning's since the mid-90's when I started subscribing to House & Garden just to read her editorials. Okay, and also to dream about houses and gardens. One of the great magazines of all time, I lugged boxes of H&G issues around for years — making good use of them for students and collages — until recently, and reluctantly, dragging what was left of them to the alley recycling bin.

A chapter in her earlier book, Around the House and in the Garden, about hiring infuriatingly inept contractors, helped me keep my sanity while building my studio. Slow Love chronicles Browning's life after H&G, and her frenetic job as Editor-in-Chief, suddenly (and unexpectedly) shut down. In the prologue, she writes that
"Slow love is about knowing what you've got before it's gone."
Slowing down is a good, good thing. We have to slow down to observe and connect with the world around us. Truthfully. Some of us can slow down naturally but most of us need a jolt, or tough love training to shock us out of our break-neck pace and obsession with past and possible futures.
"At the back of that hurry is the knowledge that it is a screen against honesty." Adam Nicolson
One of the main reasons I teach drawing and watercolor is to help people slow down, get real, bypass racing thoughts, be present in real time. The tools we use in my courses are pencils, pens, brushes, water, color, and paper. We start at the very beginning so that your creative house will always stand on a solid foundation. Whether you have no experience or some experience, your foundation is critical.

As you practice drawing and watercolor, you begin to notice that the light, your experience of time, your perspective, is always changing. Your experience in any moment is never to be repeated. You can't catch it with a camera, but looking back over drawings and watercolors brings some ineffable reminder of connection to a place in time. Because you slowed down enough to connect to your actual experience.

Schedule your practice of slowing down if you have to. In my calendar, at 6 AM on Monday morning of this week was scheduled "Rest All Week."

I'm going to get back to that now but not before reminding you that you can join us for an awesome training in slowing down, getting to know yourself better and learning to practice and understand drawing and painting as a path to self-actualization.
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