Looking at Jacob's recent photographs and especially watching him take his photographs has made me more interested in micro-drawing as well as really slow watching and looking. When Jacob stands in the middle of twenty or so ducks that are grooming and settling down for the evening, he hardly moves. He waits for a very long time before making careful, slow moves to lift his camera, bend down, or whatever he needs to do to get the shot. His camera makes a barely perceptible click, and then he moves in slow motion to the next shot. He seems to have an understanding of the principle of qualitative research that the research environment is affected and changed by the observer; and his quietness allows the air to settle before he attempts to take any photographs.
I, however, tend to rush in and flail around, disturbing not only air but bugs and birds and the very energy on site. So this morning I imitated Jacob and stood without moving for what to me felt like an excruciatingly long time before making a move. I wanted to draw the landscape of the zinnia in the vase in the kitchen, which I had drawn quickly yesterday, and I wanted to practice moving my eye in slow motion as well as my hand.
Then came the real test. I went outside wearing boots and long sleeves to fend off the mosquitoes that usually attack me immediately, and I started watching the large turk's cap-like lily that grows at the edge of one of our gardens. I wanted to learn what pollinates it, among other things. It took a while before any insects showed themselves, but eventually I saw the small sweat bees that seem to be pollinating it as well as some white leaf-hoppers that have recently emerged from white cocoons, the remnants of which are along the stem of the lily. I drew so slowly that the pen made no noise as it stroked the page. It was around 9 in the morning, cool, few birds, Jesse nowhere in sight, quiet except for the occasional buzz of a bumble bee in the nearby bee balm (which bee seemed to have no interest in the lilies). Oddly enough I was basically un-attacked by mosquitoes or gnats. I played yoga class and counted my breaths.