Monday, January 20, 2014
Open Focus and a Scary Church
Tonight I went downtown to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge to meet with my journal group. This is a group of people who all keep sketchbook/journal/notebooks of some kind, and we help keep each other going by meeting to exchange ideas and show some of our work to each other once a month. I had decided to draw during the meeting for today's drawing session, thinking I would draw all of the pretty little chocolate confections that people were eating. But all of the pretty things were eaten in the first few minutes, and the table ended up littered with cups and French press coffee pots and napkins and glasses. So I began to draw what was in front of me, without judging anything more or less interesting than anything else, just lights and darks and angles and curves. Meanwhile Donna was talking about something Keith Smith said about the imperfect way we normally see with our narrow focus and preconceptions getting in the way of what's in front of us, and how drawing can help us see more and better. Serendipitous.
My drawing grew by accretion. Sometimes I wasn't even sure what I was drawing-- some dark shape-- and then a few minutes later I would watch the shape become the distorted reflection of a cup in the curved surface of a coffee pot. So the drawing on the left is a sprawling record of the table in front of me, and I like it very much.
Afterwards three of us walked to our cars together, as we had all parked several blocks away. We were walking near the very dark alley that runs alongside the reputedly most haunted spot in Asheville, so I suggested we go check out the site. I had visited this spot during the daytime several times earlier this year, when an old church imprint was revealed during the demolition of a building. The church had been built in the early 1800s then enclosed in a newer building for many years. The early church had been built on top of a cemetery, and from early on there were stories about strange goings on in that place late at night. When the newer building was razed a few months ago, the roof and windows of the old church were revealed on the adjacent building, a truly wonderful sight. And tonight we got to see it in the gloomy dark! Fabulous! My drawing on the right is from memory, the imprint of the old church on the brick wall of the adjacent building. I called my grandson Jacob when I got home, as he is a fan of haunted places, and he and I having visited many over the years. We have now formulated a plan to go on the Haunted Asheville tour very soon.