The two of us stood there staring down at the pristine stretch of washi paper lying on the floor, in his hand, a long soft brush swollen with rich black sumi ink. I was one with my client.
It’s a tense breath-taking moment, that moment before staining the clean white expanse. I reminded him that he’d done his preparation well, sinking deep into reverie whilst rubbing the sumi stick rhythmically on the stone, as the oriental monks of old did, watching the water becoming deeper and deeper black. Then he’d test the ink and brush on practice sheets, feeling the soft sheep hair bundle give way under pressure, ever darkening gray lines becoming thick and strong, and then playing and dancing thinly as he used only the very tip.
Now, kneeling before the meter-long delicate white paper, comes hesitancy. It‘s a moment I know well. All artists know it. As we stand before a new canvas, an unmarked sketchbook, an unkneaded clump of clay; Excitement, panic, insecurity, and, always, the temptation to walk away, to give up.
“In life, too,” I said “these moments of fear before starting out on a new adventure, are phases we go through. You needn’t paint anything. Just play.” Gently placing the dripping brush on the paper, his first strokes were halting, then a little stiff, until finally sinking into “the Zone” of simply experiencing the process.
Finally putting the brush down, and looking at the black and white design, he found all kinds of symbols and meanings, even some memories of childhood. He’d crossed the threshold of fear and came out the other side enchanted.
I once learned that to see something in darkness, one should focus not on the object directly, but to the side of it. Sometimes, to solve a problem, to get moving when stuck, it’s best to take a break, and work indirectly. The artistic process is life’s practice, its subconscious work and sacred prayer.
My intention here in this blog, is to document my progress in developing the abilities I have for intuitive drawing and painting. "Development" means interpreting the figures and symbols that come automatically. My friend and highly gifted Britsh medium, Elsie Poynton, says this about mediumship: it is not getting the connection that's difficult, but interpreting the messages received.
I have noticed that whenever I find myself in a total fog and disoriented whlist sketching, exactly THAT set of lines, that form, so randomly drawn in deep trance moments, indicates the key symbol or most important message in the issue being illustrated.
For instance, my daughter was looking for an apartment + came across the perfect offer on the internet. Wanting to know more, I picked up pencil and paper, started sketching the outline of a building and got into "the ZONE". My pencil separated the paper into rooms (imagine a dollhouse) as I slipped and fell even deeper into the ZONE, loosing control.
My first reaction as I slip so deeply into mental pergatory is panic. Oopps, I'm loosing track of what I'm doing.... I'm drawing rubbish.... Sylvia!!!CONCENTRATE!!!
The moment passes.
in the "bedroom" I'd drawn two attached circles and a line extending from between them..........
Upon looking at the form I was embarassed ... looks like a p*nis....what the heck am I drawing???
The answer came quickly, like a lightening flash. "she's being screwed.."....
and, just as quickly, so quickly, it's hardly discernable, I clamp down on it and start intellectualizing. I remember the owner's sad story about the accident + that she couldn't join her husband in the consequent move, etc, and start interpreting..... she's having to let go of the wonderful romantic times in that apartment, etc etc bla bla bla....
My very first impression, that my daughter was being cheated was absolutely correct, as we very soon discovered!
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