Monday, May 19, 2014

A Thin Collection, but That's the Way It Goes Some Days

I've been walking the River Trail for the past few weeks, avoiding the mountain trail because bears have been seen on our street several times lately, and they seem to live up on the mountain.  But today P and I decided to brave the mountain.  We were as always amazed at how green everything had become on this trail since we were last on it, and how good it smelled with the invasive-but-still-good-smelling multiflora roses in bloom everywhere.  Just before we got to the overlook we noticed enormous paw prints in the soft mud of the damp trail.  I first thought it might be a lynx, since one is rumored to live up on top of this mountain.  It seemed too big for a dog but a little small for a bear.  I squatted down to get a closer look and sketch it so we could look it up.  We noticed there was a straight trail of these prints and it went for a long distance before heading off into the underbrush.

When we got home I looked it up and sure enough it fit the description for a bear paw print, probably the young one we've seen on our block.  It was so deeply pressed into the mud, with five distinct claws evenly spaced in an arch. 
And then tonight my journal group met, and I had not done any drawing after the bear paw;  so I began to draw other people's and my own notebooks.  The interesting thing about this group to me is that we get to see other people's processes and how they use this practice.  No one seems to feel satisfied at first;  but then we begin to see how it's the process that changes us.  We each alter our experiences by drawing or taking notes or whatever what we do; and the product isn't important except as an artifact to look back on, to mine for ideas, to sharpen a memory sometimes.

On the left is A's box that she made.  She had a book inside of the box, and I thought of how it would be good to keep a box of small notebooks and carry only one around at a time.  That way if you lost one it wouldn't be so bad.  MA had a purchased daytimer that was bursting with notes, lists, plans, contacts, etc.  Her journals are gloriously colored and designed, but this beat up little daytimer also seemed to me to be a valuable asset.  While she was talking she realized she could use some ideas from her journal for an art project she's thinking about

D said she hadn't been doing much of anything, but then realized that she does keep notes from meetings in the little elastic-wrapped notebook she had with her.  And then she mentioned that she makes notes every night in a three-year journal,  and has actually been doing a lot of things and keeping track of them with her journals.  Someone else talked about his studio journal, and someone else showed us a piece of art that she made pulling on ideas that began life as journal notes and sketches.  A showed a travel sketch that began as a pencil sketch on site and then became a mixed media entry after she went home and reworked it.

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