It was 18 degrees and the minute I headed toward the Longshore PAL ice skating rink, my eyeballs froze up. I knew I wouldn’t be able to draw with no gloves on, even for a moment. So I quietly went into the sheltered area where everyone gathers to get their skates on and off.
The architecture of the building is really very substantial and complicated.
It’s the relationship between the people and the architecture that grabs me. This person leaning on the temporary wall (they only put this up during the winter and during summer this area is an outdoor eating area with the roof overhang) had me spellbound. The easy way she stood, allowing her fur-lined clog to slip on and off really was wonderful to capture.
I also felt compelled to draw the signs of people’s presence and activities in the way they leave their shoes and things under the benches. This touched me emotionally, I’m not sure if it’s because people’s shoes are so symbolic of themselves, or if I felt sentimental about the town and all the abundance here in the way of things to do on an 18 degree day. To see another image of how busy it was in there that day, go to www.westportnow.com
Study of Lead Soldier
I painted this lead soldier when I was thinking of the Warrior Archetype. The Warrior Archetype is activated by a need to create and find inside a gallant and fearless fighter of righteousness and honor. One who will have boundaries and virtues, and be unafraid to face challenges, or one who will stand up to the fear, using discipline and skill to execute brave acts in the name of virtue. A soldier-as-warrior takes his orders from higher ranking officers, and fulfills them. During school age, many children seem to have the soldier-as-warrior activated. It makes sense because they have to learn to accept being subjected to, or enlisted in the domain of school (often school is compared to military institutions). Children must also accept and learn to respect authority which threatens, at times, their sense of self esteem, as they are subject to being graded and performing for others to earn approval and esteem, in a very public environment. Their lives are a little battlefield of learning by way of trial and error, marks of progress and taking lessons, following rules. As one becomes master of his/her own universe, and grows up into becoming fully responsible for choices, one may experience the Warrior Archetype in other ways more central and personally driven. The inner warrior may help one develop and fight for a personal mission in life, but the principles of discipline, honor and loyalty to a cause are still the features of this archetype. Of course, the one to study if you are interested in archetypes is Jung, and Caroline Myss. Go to http://www.myss.com/
Perhaps there is an angel for each emotion we feel. And an angel for delivering us into the mercy of release from emotions we no longer need in any given situation. Some emotions raise our consciousness and help us to experience anything we aspire to in the way of exalted joy, other emotions are necessary for teaching us the depths of misery. I am learning about the poet and philosopher David Curzon and loving reading his wonderful and wise statements about Jacob’s Ladder and how the ladder represents the emotions of the heart. I reflect that as we travel up and down that ladder, we experience a range of human emotion and make choices based on knowledge we receive from those emotions. We go up toward great heights and down into low lows during our time on Earth. The spectrum of emotion guides us and hopefully, we are able to balance ourselves on the ladder of highs and lows. Maybe angels, each assigned to a particular emotion, are there with us as we climb.
I like juggling ideas as they come, choosing the ones which seem like good ideas. You never know until you start materializing an idea (drawing it or writing it down) if it is a good idea or a less good idea (I hate to say “bad” idea because we often learn the most by trying out those ideas, even when the results take us to all the wrong places). I’m excited to jot ideas down, sketch them and keep them. My first agent, Whit Stillman, who became an important film maker and director (Metropolitan, Barcelona, Last Days of Disco) told me to keep all my art and book ideas until they’re ready to be used, because they will be there for me even if I don’t use them all right away. He was right.
This is a sketch (pencil with watercolor) that I did of my youngest son when he was about 3 years old. I wanted to capture the beauty of small hands making marks. Facing a blank piece of paper is a very dynamic thing to do. That blank paper says, “What are you going to activate today?” I remember teaching at The Paideia School in Atlanta and then with the great teacher Peter Thorlichen at The Atrium School in the Boston area and my favorite thing in all the world was creative writing time. Asking a child to write meant that they immediately started to draw, and wondrously imaginative creations emerged from them. Gently we encouraged then to form letters into words, to add to their drawing expressions. Those written words were formed tenderly by those young hands, at the bottom of the page, under the magnificent art that they made. Peter would say to the children, “Don’t let your inner editor block you”, which is a term I still use today and tell myself often.
I sketched people walking across Winslow Park with the Westport Country Playhouse visible behind gnarly trees. I was especially entranced by the long winter shadows, and the vivid red barn color of the Playhouse. To see a color version of this, go to www.westportnow.com
Astral flying is the most gloriously fun experience. The other morning I was on that brink of awake and asleep, aware but completely relaxed. The thought to pedal a bike entered my mind. Instantly, I saw a spinning pedal mechanism at my temple, just a few feet from where I was, hovering there, as if to say, “Here! Spinning pedal for you!” I was amazed at how the very thought of pedaling a bike seemed to summon the energy and mechanism for pedaling. I then said, “I want to fly!” Suddenly, I was flying fast and with great power. I swooped into what seemed to be a hotel bar. It was a little dark in there. To the amazement of some of the happy hour crowd (the ones who looked up in the darkened atmosphere) I flew with glee over their heads and toward the back of the room, feeling joyous and a little full of mischief. I then aimed upward and soared right through each level of the hotel, through each floor, through each particle of wood, metal, linoleum, whatever. It was so much fun being able to just GO up like that.
I felt empowered and steady, focusing all my energy and sense of direction on flight. All that day and now, I’m thinking of how the thought provoked the energy needed. The thought of riding a bike seemed to bring energy in support of riding a bike, and the thought of flight seemed to bring the ability to experience flight straight to me. I am paying attention to my thoughts today, believing as I now do that the universe sends energy to support the thought immediately.
After seeing that spinning pedal mechanism when I thought the thought of pedaling a bike, I believe thoughts do generate an action of energy. So, I am going to put a positive spin on every thought as best I can (no pun intended). The spin is there, from the Source of All Life, and I truly think the thoughts we have can connect us to that spin of energy, and help make dreams come true.
The grace and courage of people saving other people is on my mind.
On a sunny day last week, I sketched at Elvira’s. There is nothing like it. There is a whiff of bacon egg and cheese on a roll and coffee in the air. You hear quiet voices, conversations melodically drifting on the morning sea breeze.
Even the basic elements essential to eating outside at Elvira’s have their charm. I saw three teenage boys roaming along together, and they veered toward that scent of bacon, egg and cheese on a roll. As they crossed the street and walked toward the entrance to Elvira’s they suddenly stopped. One of them said, “Oh. We don’t have any money!”
But they went to get some. To see more Westport Sketchbook, go to www.westportnow.com
Hugh Gilbert is a man with divine timing. I know this first hand because when he contacted me not long ago, it was timing that can be explained in no other way. I have since learned that Hugh is many things, most notably, a real healer of the sort the world needs most. He is from Glasgow originally. He is a very accomplished physical therapist who has done amazing work, specializing in something he developed himself while running his clinic in Calgary, Canada. It is called Kinetic Chain Release and as Hugh describes it, “is a simple protocol designed to bring the whole body into full balance, quickly and sustainably every time”. This technique has worked miracles for people over and over. Please go to his site www.journeysend.ca to learn more about this. The other point to make about Hugh is that he is an international speaker and author and an Ordained Minister of Spiritual Peacemaking. He lives in Scotland but spends much of his time in Mexico and the US. I am learning more and more about his work, especially new discoveries and treatments for autism. I drew this picture of Hugh based on an experience he had in Montana at the Little Big Horn Battlefield. He was there, feeling the wretched sadness held in the land, but as he prayed, he also sensed a surge of energy wanting to release that sadness, to reveal the sheer beauty and power of the land itself. As he meditated on this, he felt brighter and the land felt completely renewed. He looked around and wondered if in fact what he sensed had happened, did happen. He asked for a sign and moments later, a herd of 30 or more wild horses came galloping over the land. Eventually, they formed a single file line and raced by his truck, not ten feet from him. He watched in awe as they regathered as a herd, running in an arc, and were gone. I do believe Hugh’s Light working and Energy Clearing on the earth in Montana healed the land that day, and Little Big Horn was given a new start. The horses felt it! Learn more about Hugh Gilbert at this link also: www.buildingbridgesconference.com