Back to the Drawing Board

Ah... The industrious, productive Bee. Bringer of good luck and prosperity.

Not a bad subject to re-launch my daily practice blog. It'll take a bit to re-establish the habit and till then, it's practice.

Practice does not make perfect but it can establish a habit which, if it's a healthy one, can lead to all sorts of good things.

My 2016 daily practice was eclipsed by a big illustration project. This year has been all about creating three new art history practicum courses to follow on my foundation course in drawing and watercolor.

All personal drawing and watercolor this year has gone to rapid demos in live class and longer demos for the online course. I’ve been chomping at the bit to just sit down to draw and watercolor and post for … relief! (At the very least.)​

I'm still honing the online art history practicum course to make the best offering possible for early 2018 but am far enough along to putting my personal daily practice in gear again. This bee has been sitting in a saucer next to my drafting table for at least two months. I'm happy, at long last, to immortalize him (or to make him temporarily slightly famous) as he helps me prepare for two new courses online in the new year.

Do not fail, as you go on, to draw something every day, for no matter how little it is, it will be well worth while, and it will do you a world of good. —Cennino Cennini

Bee positive. Pick up a pen or a pencil and draw something. Anything.​ Just for fun. Or for a meditation. Drawing is one of the surest ways to help you bee here now.  (You know I can't help myself.)

Click here to add your name to the wait list

for early notification about my foundation course and art history practicums starting in January 2018.

Truth and the Devil

I think truth is a layered phenomenon. There are many truths that accumulate and build up. 
I am trying to peel back and explore these rich layers of truth. All truths are difficult to reach. 
 -Sally Mann
Life. It's a series of experiences. Scenes of intentions and accidents.

What, exactly, is going on during any of our experiences is wildly complex no matter what measuring devices we bring. We may have objective material evidence to empirically prove that a certain thing happened in a certain way but there are energies and histories and momentums of objects well out of sight and forces beyond our comprehension that are playing out within and without us all through this wonderful life.

A fact is a fact. The sky is blue. At least the part that I'm looking at now from where I'm sitting right now.

Truth is a matter of perspective and changes depending not on where you may have been standing in the midst of an experience but more often on where you're standing right at this very moment. Our perspective can change with time and distance.

It's interesting though that our understanding of the truth can be changed by facts and by our growth as humans being.

If our minds are open to the truth we have to be able to hold, at least temporarily, an opposing point of view from the one we're convinced by. At least several times a week while growing up I heard my mother say, "Now, just let me play the Devil's Advocate for a minute." Every time I heard that, a little part of my brain went into courtroom mode, examining a case from another perspective. She was probably speaking to my father but, still, it was good mental training for me.

Learning to play the Devil's Advocate has it's drawbacks but not too many. It is not training for simple judgement and definitely eliminates the possibility of herd mentality. Moo. It is always helpful to at least try to see anything from another's viewpoint.

In a few of my art history practicum classes, we examine artists' changing viewpoints on particular subjects. As you might imagine, except to explain where, when and why it arose, gabbing about one-point perspective drives me almost over the edge. It's is a construct designed to create an illusion. So is having a hard grip on one point of view about the truth.

On the road to self-realization we're forced to confront certain truths that we hold about ourselves. Some of these truths can be painful, shameful, destructive, worth disowning. In the process of self-examination, playing the Devil's Advocate can be a healing exercise. This is true about myself but that equal and opposite thing is also true.

Lifting up that paradox to the light with love and wonder is a way to develop true compassion. If we can develop compassion for the most challenging parts of ourselves we may begin to feel compassion for others who seem so shameful, destructive, opposite. It wouldn't hurt. Mmm... maybe it could at first.Opening our hearts can be scary and painful but just think of the potential.

Truth is a many-layered thing. Dense yet filled with light. Just like these leaves.

Truth does not belong to a particular team. Truth does not stand still and neither do we as we grow, change, and maybe acquire some wisdom and compassion along the way. 

Thoughts on Daylight Savings

The arrival of the first dark night
after the first short day
always brings a punchline.

What time is it?

Did we lose an hour?
(If so, where did it go?)
Did I lose sleep?
Yes, that's right...
Fall back.

But I had so much work to do...

Is it later than I think
or is it earlier?

I scheduled a household painting job today.
I didn't know that it would take two coats and 
three times as long as I'd expected.
Though, I could have counted on that
and that I'd have preferred a different color

and that I'd paint other bits and pieces
around the house that were nagging me. 
After all, the paint brush and friends
were out and up for exercise.

Maybe it's paint fumes
or the aggravation of yesterday's super full moon
but what's next on the agenda is vague.

I need brain washing.
I must go down for a good night's sleep
whatever time it is
and hope for clarity in the morning. 

Will it be light in the morning
or dark?

I'll just have to close my eyes
and wait to see.

©2017 Suzanne McDermott (All Rights Reserved)