It’s really hot here again. The pool has been marvelous in the morning. All of the kids are back in school. This might be the first September that no one in our family has returned to school or teaching.
I did a wonderful two-day EBHQ workshop with Susan Shie last weekend. We used brushes, fabric paint, and markers to create a personal response to a theme. We attempted to find that artist from our childhood who expressed herself with abandon, never judging whether the marks were right or wrong.
One of my favorite ideas was what Susan calls Library Time. For awhile I had tried to do morning writing a la Julia Cameron. My understanding of what Susan proposes is that Library Time is a kind of warm-up for the real work. It is a time to “settle in” by writing or drawing in your sketch book. For about 10 minutes, I tried to record ideas and colors as they flowed from my thoughts about the theme. I did not try to make writings that were “good” nor did I feel a need to go back and re-read what I wrote. For me, it was a sort of positive quieting of the inner critic and a sort of personal cheerleading session all in one.
Susan’s diary paintings contain extensive writings, filling up her paintings with texture. Initially, I had no interest in doing work like this but making a personal diary painting was a very joyous experience. What I was unable or unwilling to draw could be filled out with words.
Of course one of the most fabulous things about EBHQ workshops is the up-close and in-person time with the artist and her art. Susan’s art, in particular, is meant to be experienced not as a photo, but in the cloth.