Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sources of Power

“Creativity - like human life itself - begins in darkness.” - Julia Cameron 

Just the other day while teaching class, the power went out, leaving us mid-critique in the dark. Fortunately given the seasonal lengthening of our days (already 18+ hours of visible light) it was a simple matter of opening the blinds. Would that it was such an easy solution for illumination in other, more murky areas of life.
Metaphorically speaking (in a sage voice) I pointed to my head and commented on how at least our true power is still on inside. Talk about the ultimate renewable resource, vast amounts of coffee notwithstanding. Then we went back to reading comics.

“Just before our love got lost you said
I am as constant as a northern star
And I said, constantly in the darkness
Where's that at?
If you want me I'll be in the bar”  
– Joni Mitchell “A Case of You”

But seriously, the moment impressed upon me how dependent folks are, if not on technology, then at least a source of power: years of the cabin lifestyle gives one a different perspective on all the basics taken for granted in urban environments. As of late I've been sketching outside more and more: enjoying the idle amusements of doodling unplugged out on the porch, at least before the mosquitoes hatch en masse. No matter what advances in the latest computer programs, nothing has yet to detract from the quiet pleasure of manually making images with traditional tools of the trade. We still aren't that far away from the barbaric scratching of marks on cave walls using the burnt ends of sticks. In fact, that happens to be one of the time-worn implements I still employ - this particular twig shown here dates back from over twenty years ago, when my beginning drawing instructor had the us prune them from the trees outside the art department to experiment with in class. Coincidentally enough, it works really great on drawing trees.
"A pencil is quiet, clean, odorless, inexpensive, and lightweight. I can slip it in my pocket and take it with me everywhere - my secret friend." - Sherry Camby 

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