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Namaste Coronavirus. Collage. March 13, 2020. 4”x 4”

 

 

The influence of a beautiful, helpful, hopeful character is contagious, and may revolutionize a whole town.
Eleanor H. Porter

( american windows and other psychoses )

 

i remember the cardboard house on the wrong side of the train tracks- perennially in twilight. screened windows shut, curtains drawn on august mornings.

how many layers does it take for you to feel safe

from the outside air

how many fluorescent bulbs for you to feel free

how many guns

we turned the light on to have breakfast. that house never knew breezes, or sunlight.

this saturday night i want to play music from my window — no balcony here. but there are screens, promptly shut if i throw them open to air out the room — the conditioning to fear starts with the white picket fence. the death of beauty with these factory sliding panes, the jail crank, the midwest faux wood panel fan cum light fixture, driveways. You can take the girl out of suburbia but

the great outdoors- a nation of weekend warriors

just not sunlight and breeze in the house

We keep flies away back home, we don’t shut ourselves
in

they don’t like balconies too close

to their neighbors either.

 

~intermission~ suspend judgement~

 

I walk the earth, the blades of grass

Tender — my instep sinks, my knees appreciate

We are made of the selfsame matter

You and I

are too

 

The goddess says,

right before Child’s Pose

“Breathe three-dimensionally”.

This is the global pause.

The “Great Pause” you have been waiting for.

The Slowing Down.

Here. is. your. chance.

The earth holding her breath,

so that you could learn yours.

So that “your soul could catch up

with your body.”

 

Like the building waiting for the sale,

the lease renewal.

We are all waiting to exhale.

 

Carla says there are two magic words:

Right.

Now.

I keep my phone in a leather holster :

it is the gun that kills

this moment.

That takes me away from the beauty

of this Now — this silence.

This moment calls for quiet acts.

The solemn going in.

 

It is a mourning time too, not just a collective coming together ( are we coming together or coming apart? The jury’s still in.)

It is a requiem for The Dream

for those who thought themselves

Untouchable, invincible, immune.

 

He said he never saw empty shelves in his

forty-six years.

 

Afterword 

If we could only put poetry

ahead of tidying up

ahead of our lists, even now that we are

home bound

ahead of laundry

I hear my neighbors laugh outside for the first time in 11 years.

The Italian nurse says she works with the same people day and night fighting this war, but she can’t even hug them.

“I haven’t seen their smiles in so long I don’t remember them, their faces before these mask”.

 


Still the body to still the mind

Only meditation is “like meditation”.

This is the year where everything gets canceled.

Except love

Except time, her hindsight gifts.

The padded silence.

Except our being naked as people, as countries.

Those who lose themselves in crowds in parties in bars now, finally, face themselves. Or not.

If you’ve been saving something for a special occasion:

Well, you are the occasion —

says my art teacher.

This is the time to

Write with fountain pens

on expensive paper

 imported ink.

She taught me to work in silence

So I could hear myself.

I told her about wells, not puddles.

 

This is the time to burn the incense, aromatherapy of supreme self-care

Light all the candles in all the churches of Italy

( the priest holds mass in front of the photos of the parishioners – and there is police tape on street benches, they are “closed”- we have crossed into the absurd)

 

I forgot to tell him

In my dream I was on the rooftop of a train

Flying between the skyscrapers of New York

I was exhilarated

In my dream I was riding a motorcycle, free

I forgot to tell him

New York is the beating heart of this country.

[This post and poem were written in March 2020 and only edited today, May 26.]

Collage. Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 15, 2020. 9” x 12”

I return.

With some scraps pasted on watercolor paper, with a draft of a poem. Like a pater familias who periodically abandons the domestic domicile and neglects his duties to answer the siren, wearing only a backpack.

Wanderlust. It’s in my blood.

Five minute Collage. Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 13, 2020. 4”x 4”
Ten minute response Collage. Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 14. 2020. 4”x 4”
Ten minute response collage. Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 14, 2020. 4”x 4”
Three element collage . Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 14, 2020. 4”x 4”
Five minute collage. Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 13, 2020. 4”x 4”
Five minute collage. Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 13, 2020. 4”x 4”

So, before they shut down California and closed all her beaches ( I can just see the headline of Italian newspapers: California Surrenders), I attended a mixed media workshop taught by an empowering teacher, Crystal Marie.

These are the outcomes ( and voyages ) from Collage and the Intuitive Voice — A Collage and Writing Collaboration , hosted at the idyllic Way Art Yonder Studio, owned by my friend Jana Freeman. My heart rejoices when we take the right turn to the house on the hill, where my spirit can sing, where it is okay to play.

My station at Way Art Yonder Studio ❤️
Taking shots for the ‘gram.
By the way, you can see more process photos, work from my fantastic colleagues, read the quotes I collected – aaand follow me and my wanderings live – on Instagram : @sketchbloom
Laying down the pieces from the “piles of possibilities”. This collage prompt came from our morning pages.
Finished piece! It is very joyful to me.
How to grow an artist. How to grow SketchBloom, my digital studio. A process that requires support, mindfulness and grafting, as in growing a new type of fruit.
“ How To Grow An Artist.”. Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 15, 2015. 9” x 12”

I was able to join Crystal last year for an encaustics and collage workshop last February , with exciting results and exposure to new techniques. I posted my work from that workshop on Instagram and will feature it here next.

This time the experience was deeper. I came away with sooo many lessons, quotable quotes and insights: the journaling/writing aspect of the workshop was incredibly soothing and therapeutic in personal fraught times ( Italy was preeminent in my mind). I love returning to writing, my first love. Most importantly, I was able to reflect and share and CELEBRATE what it means to be an artist.

Redacted morning pages. Quedate con lo bonito = Only keep the good. Quotes on being an Artist.
Collage. Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 13, 2020. 9” x 12”
A small tribute to the most beautiful country of the world, now mortally wounded.

Now, I could berate myself for only producing artifacts at this intense levels once a year when I attend these workshops, but let’s not do that. Other duties and career and life commitments vie for time..I just enjoy the return each time. Like a soldier returning from war, knocking on a door— as as they say in Mad Men.

Dichotomy: my architecture world vs. my art world
Response Collage (10 minutes) Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 13, 2020. 4”x 4”

Each day is a new beginning, like the title of the little book I found in the alley of my building, full of smoke and the story of a recovering alcoholic. Each breath. Each spring.

These are the days of stasis — the dormant days or deepening ones.

Collection of 5- minute Collage. Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 13, 2020. 4”x 4”
A work in progress, beautifully unfinished.
My wonderful teacher Crystal Marie!
One of Crystal Marie’s motto : Just Glue It.
What I see of my work/myself ….
How other people see me/ my work or … what I let people see…
Here my work and my desk — all cleaned up— on Final Presentation Day ( pardon my archi-speak).
Ciao Way Art Yonder Studio! See you soon!

Before I leave you to my draft poem ( upcoming post ) and artifacts from my latest retreat — and a retreat it was, from life and obligations…Art is always a refuge…before I push publish on these collages of words and paper and sticky stuff, I just want to say that this is the time to finally read ”La Noche que Volvimos a Ser Gente”or “The Night We Became People Again” by José Luis González, inspired by the big New York blackout of 2014.

The night will be longer this time.

Chagall_Krishna_web
Postcard from the Chagall Exhibit at the Palazzo Reale in Milano, December 2016 | Fountain ink drawing of Krishna’s silhouette on Muji thin sketchbook paper.

Art is a refuge from the busy hive of activity…and I’m lifted.

Sometimes I even float.

A fleeting instant, the diver coming up for air.

Digital painting on Sketches app. January 19, 2020.

Blue_Mosque_Sketch_IPAD

Hagia_Sophia_Sketch_Ipad

Istanbul. Hagia Sophia or Church of the Holy Wisdom. Digital sketch. Built by Isidorus the Elder  and Anthemius of Thrallos under Emperor Justinian in 537 AD.



Maybe Istanbul was the city in the sky where the people who were our reflections lived.
Burhan Sönmez

A quick trip to Ahmet Square in Istanbul on my way back from Italy, to visit Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. You can see my photos and a video on  @sketchbloom

These are my first architectural sketches using my new Ipad and the SKETCHES app.

( I had previously used drawing apps on my phone to sort-of draw a portrait, experiment with digital watercolor and collage).

Learning the tools and the limits of the app was really interesting, as was experimenting with all the different tools and lineweights. I completed these few days ago on the plane ride from Istanbul to Los Angeles- looking at photos i took. The first one took me 15 minutes, the second one three hours. No ruler was used, tracing or overlaying – just a stylus with different tips and a brush.

 

Last time I was here, back in April, the subject was New York. I think it would be poetic to end begin the year ( and begin this post ) with a postcard from my latest visit.

Here are the sketches and sketchnotes from lectures I attended that I compiled in my sketchbook in 2019. I have not been good at sharing them here (or being disciplined about doing art regularly) – but here they are, proof that I haven’t given up on my art or drawing entirely; I hope you, Single Reader, never give up on me.

This past week I read that, in Norway, the period between Christmas and the New Year is called RomJul. Jul means Christmas and rom, or room, is the space one makes in his or her life for the New Year. It is a time to pause and take time to reflect and clear out our lives before the arrival of this new page, or chapter, or book we are about to write.

As Mark Nepo says in The Book of Awakening:

Creation is ongoing. The world begins anew each day. We think it is night that covers the world, but everything living is recreated in that mysterious moment of rest that blankets us all.

And each time you open our eyes, you can begin again.

My wish for 2020, for you and for myself, is for this year to bring calm amidst the pace of contemporary life – analog time to reconnect with ourselves and intentionality and mindfulness in productivity.

Be quiet, be still. Let the mind rest.

Discover who you really are.

Nina Wise

 

 

Rainer Maria Rilke writes:

Nobody can counsel and help you, nobody. There is only one single way. Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest places of your heart, acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it were denied you to write.

This above all — ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: must I write? Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple “I must,” then build your life according to this necessity; your life even into its most indifferent and slightest hour must be a sign of this urge and a testimony to it.

[…]
A work of art is good if it has sprung from necessity. In this nature of its origin lies the judgment of it: there is no other.

In this spirit I offer you, Reader, this poem and these images, stemming from one brief November visit to the city than never sleeps – and several months of correspondence.

 

 

In a New York Minute [Glissando]

 

“If you can receive it at the wavelength is is playing at, you may love it.”

From a review of the series “Forever”

 

 

We existed

in the ellipses between

words appearing on screen

and giving up

 

Suspended above the city

you loved how I used the word luscious

 

We kissed with our souls

on the tip of our tongue

this is from Spoon River Anthology

 

You are morse code

and I need continuity

 

–when I asked if we were ships in the night

and you said yes did you notice me wiping the water

on my cheeks? I barely noticed too.

 

But then you said : “Body and heart.”

Body and heart.

 

You spoke of fire between our souls,

as if you knew about souls.

You only know about fire.

 

My tears don’t fall

I do

every single time

— how many goodbyes did it take?

 

So elegant in your detachment, like it was an art form.

Precise in your choice of words,

I fell in love with your philosopher brain.

I still fall in love with it every time — liminal.

 

A New York minute.

You were the space separating

Love and reason

 

I was addicted to a city

giddy at the thought of walking her streets beside you

how do you fly and walk

at the same time?

 

Even if you don’t see her torn feet

the effortless dance of the ballerina

is a flower bloomed out of pain.

 

Take each sentence, rearrange as you wish.

This is not to scale.

The timeline is not linear.

 

To hear you whisper, half-asleep: “When?”

Zero things better.

 

I heard that New York is the heartbeat of the world.

In that heartbeat a part of me is marked by your passage.

 

We will never go to Tokyo.

Jazz @ The Handlery

jazz 001

Well,  Happy New Year.

I think it’s valid to still say that, as long as we are still in January.

Last night I attended the last Friday night Jazz at the Handlery Hotel. I had only some copy paper, a bic pen and an Arabic calligraphy in my bag ..but was so thirsty for drawing that I started something I was hoping would just be an exercise…but I’m actually happy with it.

I am sure You, Single Reader, have been wondering if the Earth swallowed me whole…

Since my last post I visited Oaxaca, Mexico, then was in New York (each for a long weekend) and finally, in Milano for the Christmas holidays.

Instagram is the reason I have neglected my blog..it is much easier and more immediate to share work there..where in here the point is to craft each post. But I am here today because (thankfully) the Instagram Gods thought my drawing too long to post it there in its entirety..and so I am following my own advice (which I never do) and posting here first..and then a “teaser” on IG.

I have been working on a long New York poem, and still have to share my photos and a drawing from there…same with Oaxaca. I also have couple of artist features to share with you (and which you will love). But, this shall suffice for now…the demands of life and career are calling me- the forces which prey me away from my craft and from this digital room which is my calm and my natural habitat.

The good news is that I am teaching a Drawing/Representation course for design (not Architecture) students, so I have been practicing what I preach. And,  there is more freedom and anarchy to be outside of the realm of my chosen profession.

Until soon…..

Here is to closing parenthesis.

 

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