This week was our second Monday Morning Calm ArtPAUSE Session and I had one person stop by. Last week there were two people. Have you ever been in a half-hour, one-on-one art session?
The first Monday, we explored the art done by Mary Louise Marino whose work is on display at the Studio this month. Titled Black And White And Lines, Mary explores black as her “color” of choice and uses various tools—all gathered from the hikes she goes on. I couldn’t forget that part of her artist’s talk. It was amazing to think that you can paint without using brushes and without spending money on colors! Have you ever thought of that?
So I pulled some pebbles from the bottom of my flower vase and broke some twigs from a fallen branch on the way home and planned my first Monday Morning Calm session.
Lesson One: Tools for art are Everywhere! (aka Don’t Make Excuses Because you don’t have the Right Tools!)
The first Monday Meredith, who works as the Education Program Manager at Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts & Culture, Inc. in Maryland, dropped by. Then came Vanessa, my hairdresser of fourteen years. Both had been at the opening event and had heard Mary’s talk. So they were ready to try working with pebbles, twigs, and the color black.
We dipped pebbles in ink and printed the image on rice paper. We dipped twigs in ink and let them dance on the paper as we rolled them between our palms. We tried all kinds of stuff—made blobs, and dry marks, and even painted with the twig after it was done with its dance. We also watched twigs fly across the room—its not easy to work with these tools! But it is so much fun. In half and hour they each had multiple pages ready. Meredith placed them in the trunk of her car and said she hadn’t done anything like this in ages. I know she hikes a lot so who knows what “tools” she will find on her next trip…
This week Vanessa stopped by and found me reading old newspapers, typical morning stuff I guess. Except these were old papers another person who comes for painting sessions had left behind to cover the art table with. But newspapers work with the theme of Black And White so I showed her how to make a quick origami book out of old newspapers.
The first step was the hardest. Which page do we pick?
I picked one with a disturbing story about how people are getting desensitized to photos of suffering children. I wanted to fold it all up and hide it away. I couldn’t look at the photos. Vanessa picked pages in color. She liked color, she said. But she picked the orbituary pages.
When the book was done we saw how the folding process put random images and text on the pages of our book. We circled words and images we liked with colored pens. We put the date on the cover of our book too, right next to the date on the newspaper. Vanessa thought she could easily make one everyday—a morning journal where you don’t write or draw anything! Just pick a page to fold into a book and then see the random things that show up.
Then I asked her why she picked the orbituary page, pages I never read. She said simply, it had to do with her work. She was a hairdresser in Clarendon. She had many many clients, many of them regulars. But they come and go—some move house, change jobs, and … worse. So she reads the orbituary pages just in case she finds a client who hasn’t been in for a while. All the time hoping she doesn’t find a familiar face at all.
Lesson Two: Inspiration is Everywhere. Stay open to it and watch where it takes you!
Yes, it’s a delight to see grown-ups play, smile, laugh, have their eyes light up with ideas, and look at their work with pride. It is also amazing to hear them share bits of their lives, their loves, and their fears.
Won’t you stop in one Monday Morning? Who knows what we will find out about ourselves and the world around us. I will be there…
PS: The mail just came and there was a fat envelope in there for me. I opened it to find a lovely blue ballpoint pen with my company name and address on it! Marketing guys with a great idea for my business, no doubt. I wonder if they print on twigs though…