Friday, September 30, 2011

Drawing Without Sight & Learning to See

During art last night we diligently practiced our “blind contour” skills. Contour drawing is only drawing the lines of an object, in as much detail as you can. Blind contour is doing this while you aren’t looking.

Ha, that’s a good one, I found myself thinking when my professor explained that activity. I don’t really understand this.

Apparently a lot of other people didn’t either, since they kept sneaking glances at their paper while they were drawing (so did I, if I’m being honest). I just couldn’t figure out how in the world I was supposed to actually draw something without looking.

Eventually I figured out it didn’t matter what I drew, it mattered what I saw. It’s amazing how much detail I began to notice once I was required to stare at an object and explicate its various lines with my eyes.

The tiny cracks in a teapot became splitting crevices on pavement.

The tiny veins in a leaf of ivy became Jack’s beanstalk etched against the sky.

I could see everything.

The blind contour drawing of my shoe was by no means an accurate representation, nor was the drawing of my hand or the soup can.

(The picture below is my shoe.)

But within those two hours I was learning how to see in a completely different way.

My professor sent us outside to draw an element of nature and I chose a lone vine of ivy. At this point she gave us permission to look at our paper for a reference point every time we started a new line. But she still wanted us to draw with our eyes and pay close attention to how the lines moved and formed.

That vine of ivy became an entire world as I depicted the patterns.

How can there be no God when there are worlds of detail etched upon the earth everywhere I look?

When my professor talked the first day about the connection between faith and art I didn’t understand what she was talking about. I knew I could pray through art when I played the piano or drew, but I didn’t realize that there could always be a spiritual process involved with art.

Until last night.

I must have drawn that vine of ivy for an hour or so. People passed me on the street wondering why I was sitting with a giant sketch board facing a vine of ivy and drawing it. I must have looked stupid—but I didn’t care what they thought.

Here was the final product:

I was entranced by the process, and captivated by the beauty that God gave this world.

I can’t begin to picture heaven if the earth is this glorious.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Observations of a Distracted Runner

This morning I went on a run. Finally.

It’s not that I haven’t been working out. I have. I climb a nearly 45-degree hill numerous times a day plus hundreds of stairs on top of that if I don’t have the patience to wait for the elevator. I seldom do—it’s way too slow.

I knew last night I wanted to run in this morning and purposefully get some exercise.

I set my alarm for 8:00 and eventually rolled out of bed around at little before nine.

After pulling on my work out clothes I left my dorm and took the numerous flights of stairs to reach the bottom level so I could go outside.

Then I started running. I had no idea where I was going but I ran down the hill away from my dorm.

I ended up running along Salmon Bay, which flows from Lake Union. It was beautiful and the perfect temperature to run. Plus, it wasn’t raining which made it even better. The weather as of late has been gorgeous, so now I’m going to be even more disappointed when it starts to get continuously gloomy.

My IPod shuffle was randomly playing songs and it started out with some of La Roux’s music. Her music is very quick paced, and before I knew it I had gone rather far.

The path on which I was running possessed many different benches facing the water. I sat down at a few of them, admiring the view and feeling the stillness of the morning on my skin.

Suddenly I was tempted to sit down at every single one. Though I was looking at the same water from every bench, the feeling was always slightly different depending on where trees were located, whether or not I was in the shade, or how close I was to water’s edge. I could have spent all morning sitting at all of them and deciding which one was my favorite and why.

However, I continued to run and I said hello to whoever was running the other way. The pastor from my home church talked about community during a sermon once and he said it always makes a difference to say hello to someone when you are out walking or running. Which is why I always say hello to people on my runs. Or wave. (I really like waving. Ask any of my close friends.)

When I finally decided I should turn back, the music on my IPod had switched to the opposite end of the spectrum from La Roux. Louis Armstrong was singing in his husky jazzy voice and I discovered I was more content to listen to him and be relaxed while I run instead of trying to always match the beat of La Roux’s dance music.

I passed a day care with the coolest looking playground I’ve ever seen. Not because of an awesome jungle gym, but because it was pretty much a giant sand box/nature yard. Lucky kids, that’s so much cooler than a typical playground.

When I made it back onto campus I remembered I still had a hill to run back up.

I guess it was too beautiful for me to mind much, even in my exhausted state.

And the hill really isn’t a bad thing.

I’ll have awesome legs because of it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Non-Existent Attention Span

Lately it’s been hard for me to pay attention to anything.

Everything here is new and the last thing I want to be doing is sitting in class on a beautiful day in Seattle.

I want to be going on a run, exploring, or making even more friends while trying to remember everyone’s names. (Remembering names is not an easy task. Especially when there are hundreds all at once.)

Film class is intriguing—well… kind of intriguing depending on the conversation.

There’s a piano at the front of the room.

Now imagine me paying any attention at all to my professor when a beautiful baby grand piano is just sitting there.

That’s not going to happen. Especially when my fingers itch like they do every time I see a piano.

Today I noticed that the piano was sitting with the keys and bench on the right side.

Hm… That’s odd. On Monday the keys and bench were on the left side. They must have turned the piano to face the other way.

I think that observation proves I’m watching the piano more than I’m watching the professor.

He better come up with some awesome things to talk about so I don't fail.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Crave Art

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you eat breakfast you’ll be more ready to conquer the day instead of letting it drag you on a leash. My Mom is always reminding me to eat a healthy breakfast.

But I really wish I could just eat art.

Going to an amazing art museum is easily the equivalent of breakfast. A breakfast with toast, scrambled eggs, and a glass of orange juice (which happens to be my favorite thing to eat in the morning if I do eat.)

Today I finally found some time for my art. I played the piano for nearly 30 minutes. I wasn’t keeping track of time so maybe it was longer. Time loses all definition when I’m playing the piano—I always play whatever I want.

Songs that are mine.

Songs that aren’t.

Songs that I make up on the spot.

Now I understand why people are so intrigued with music therapy. Because it works.

Then tonight I had drawing class. The best words came out of my professor’s mouth. “Tonight will be the most I’ll ever talk. I hardly want to talk during class. I want you guys to draw.”

Goodbye high school art class. I’m going to draw for 2 hours every Tuesday and Thursday.

The class may be from 5:00 to 7:20 at night, which cuts out my time to eat dinner, but it will most certainly be my favorite.

I’ll enjoy a healthy serving of creativity.

And a snack later.

Monday, September 26, 2011

No One Coughs During a Good Sermon

I’ve decided that I’m not going to blog on Sundays—they are going to be my day of rest, my rejuvenation day, the time I really get to spend with God. The day I do the things I love like playing the guitar or piano and drinking tea with all of my newly found friends.

If I get my time management down really well I would love to have no homework on Sundays. I’ll see how that turns out.

Even though I’m not blogging on Sundays, I’m still going to write about them. Especially if I hear an extremely good sermon, which just so happens to be the case.

The church service I went to lasted 2 hours. Normally I’m used to being in church for an hour and 20 minutes and nothing more. When my Dad told me that the service lasted 2 hours I was blown away.

No one coughed. Not once.

My Grandy used to be a pastor and he once told me, “When people start coughing during your sermon you know you’ve gone for too long. You have to wrap it up pretty fast at that point.”

But during the sermon I attended, which was longer than average, no one coughed. It seemed as if people hardly moved.

The pastor talked about how Jesus can be both tender and tough, not just one or the other. Often, we make Jesus into who we want him to be. Most of the time the men want him to be tough and the women want him to be tender, but we have to recognize that Jesus can be both, that he is both.

Then the pastor drew the congregation’s attention to Isaiah 52 and 53. Within those chapters of the Bible lies the prophesy of Jesus’ coming. And it was written 700 years before the event occurred. If that doesn’t prove the truth of scripture, I’m not sure what does.

I took notes during the sermon because the pastor said so many things I wanted to remember. He made sure to look deep into the scripture and not just skim the service. He made a point to say that he doesn’t like to just pull random pieces of scripture and use it to back up his point.

I appreciate that. I like depth. I long to understand and have insight.

At the end of the service I took communion along with many other people. My heart opened during worship. Good worship is the best spiritual therapy for me; I came out refreshed and uplifted.

In my notebook I wrote, “I’m more motivated to be ready for the coming of the Lord not when I’m told to do so or when I’m told to prepare, but when I’m moved by the scripture and fully believe that it is real—that is when I have a reason to be ready.”