RAMONA

I met a “Ramona” yesterday while I painted “holiday scenes” with white pens on the window of a wonderful shop downtown. I was standing on the inside-ledge of the window. “Ramona” was standing outside….on the sidewalk, looking-in, watching my pen strokes, and mirroring them with her hands. I was as mesmerized with her as she was with me. Watching her navigate the experience….as her adults had “LOTS OF THINGS TO DO ON THEIR LIST” that day, I smiled and played along with her. This child was not two, but maybe for or five years old. When the nervous adults intervened, she expressed her emotional intelligence with clear wails and tears. It was not a tantrum….it was simply sorrow. Sadness.

She was not ready to move along from this experience….to the NEXT ON THE LIST!

Practically, there are not that many Ramona-sorts of human beings walking around on the street. Most of us HOLD our emotional-contexts very close to the place of silence and courtesy. We make sure we navigate as quietly around the expectational-radar fields as we can. We can be quite skilled at this as adults….AND, some of us work very hard to help OUR children do the same at a very young age.

It takes a certain Kind of Adult to allow the unfolding of the Ramona-spirit and personality. The older I become, and the more time I spend with children, I am peevishly-aware of the level of deceptive-courtesy involved in the entire game. In the space of time in a single day, what would it hurt the older human to spend another 20 to 30 minutes just taking in the experience For the Child’s Sake versus The LIST?

Yes, The List, the Clock, the Phone, The Planner, and the Success of the Day…..in the adult-mind is one of function and practicality. But when our lives are encircled with children, we would do well to heed another rhythm….that of Right Now. Ramona was standing in THE NOW. Certain and perceptive, she was actually pulling in an experiential bit of cognitive information that might be so important for the next bit of NOW. But there is a reality here that played out clearly before us that day…..

“Ramona” children make adults who love control VERY NERVOUS….as there is clearly an expectation of capability to parent well…..almost to the extent in some circles of “taming the spirit of the child”….curtailing the “foolish whims”….prompting “quick-obedience”. What if we became more involved in nurturing well…listening well….seeing well….walking alongside well….sitting quietly well….planning a day more gently….allowing for experiential moments to occur….bits of wonder and window-painting?

I have a feeling that there would be large doses of wellbeing experienced by All.

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SITTING IZZY

AS AN ARTIST, I AM SO COMPLETELY AWARE OF THE HESITATION TO BEGIN A PIECE....TO PICK UP THE PEN, TO DIP THE BRUSH IN THE WATER...AND TO START MAKING ART. THE EVOLUTION OF HESITATION HAPPENED SOMEWHERE AROUND THE KINDERGARTEN PAINT SPACE. BEFORE THIS, DRAWING WAS ABOUT EASE....PLEASURE...A CHOICE FOR A FEW MOMENT'S ACTIVITY. BUT AS SOON AS THE ART WAS MADE IN A SPACE WHERE OTHERS WERE ALSO THERE, C O N S C I E N T I O U S N E S S HAPPENED.

WE ARE NUDGED TO "DO WHAT IS RIGHT" FROM THE BEGINNING OF OUR SCHOOL EXPERIENCES; NOT THE MORAL OBLIGATION, BUT THE PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENT THAT IS SPOKEN OF LOUDLY, INCESSANTLY, AND OH SO SUBTLY. BUT CREATING ART REQUIRES ANOTHER MIND FRAME...A MIND THAT WANTS TO RECORD A BIT OF KNOWLEDGE OR AN EXPERIENCE. TO BE IN THIS COGNITIVE SPACE, THERE MUST BE ROOM FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL CHILD TO ENTER INTO THEIR OWN MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL PROCESSING.

CHILDREN TELL WHAT THEY KNOW IN THEIR ART. IF A TEACHER'S ART PROJECT, OR A GRANDMOTHER'S CRAFT IDEA IS THE TASK AT HAND, THAT IS ALL THAT IT IS: A TASK OR A PROJECT. 

BRINGING ART TO THE WORLD OF THE CHILD IS MORE LIKE SETTING A TRAY OF DELIGHTFUL TASTES AND DRINKS BEFORE ANY HUMAN WHO HAS TASTEBUDS. PRESENTING OPTIONS OF COLOR AND TEXTURES, SHAPES AND SHADES, TRINKETS AND OBJECTS...OUT ON A SURFACE...TO BE SEEN, AND TOUCHED, MAYBE TASTED, POSSIBLY SMELLED....IS THE ART- PROMPT FOR THE YOUNG CHILD. THE TIME FOR REFLECTION AND MAYBE EVEN A BIT OF WONDER IS CRUCIAL FOR THE CHILD TO HAVE POSSESSION OF THE EXPERIENCE. 

"SITTING IZZY" IS A PIECE OF ART I QUICKLY SKETCHED AND PAINTED ON A HOT SUMMER'S DAY AS THE PROCESSING FOR THIS CHILD WAS SO CLEARLY STATED. ALL OF THE OTHER CHILDREN IN THE STUDIO WERE MAKING THEIR SELF-PORTRAITS USING HAND-HELD MIRRORS AND THEIR PAINTS. IZZY WAS RESTLESS WITH THE WHOLE IDEA...SHE WANDERED AROUND THE ROOM, LOOKING AT THE WORK OF THE OTHERS. EVEN HER YOUNGER BROTHER JACK SEEMED ENTHRALLED IN HIS RENDERING OF HIS FACE. IZZY ASKED ME QUIETLY, THOUGHTFULLY, IF I COULD DRAW HER FACE AS I SAW HER. (SHE NEVER SUGGESTED THAT SHE DID NOT WANT TO DO THIS ACTIVITY; SHE MERELY SUGGESTED THE WAY SHE WANTED TO DO IT.) I RESPONDED WITH A WHOLE-HEARTED "YES!"

WE CARRIED A CHAIR OUT TO THE SIDE OF THE GARDEN. IZZY COULD SIT OR STAND AS SHE WANTED. I PULLED OUT A STOOL TO SIT WHILE I DREW. WHEN I USED A NEW CANVAS AS MY SURFACE, SHE IMMEDIATELY ASKED IF SHE COULD "TAKE THIS HOME?" 

"OF COURSE, YOU MAY. IT WILL BE YOURS'," I ASSURED HER.

IZZY DID SIT...WITH A CALM AND CASUAL BODY LANGUAGE THAT WAS RELIEVED AND AT EASE. SHE NEVER ONCE ASKED IF SHE SHOULD DO SOMETHING ELSE WITH HER HANDS, OR SMOOTH HER CLOTHES, OR EVEN TILT HER HEAD TO THE SIDE. WE TALKED ABOUT THE DAY AHEAD, AND SWIMMING LATER AFTER ART CAMP. AS I WENT INSIDE TO GRAB MY PAINTS, IZZY SMILED. 

"YOU'RE GOING TO PAINT ME TOO?"

"YES, I AM GOING TO PAINT THE SOFT COLORS IN YOUR CHEEKS, AND THE COLOR IN YOUR EYES."

THIS TWENTY-MINUTE RESTORATION WAS FOR IZZY, AND FOR ME. KNOWING WHAT WE EACH KNOW, WITH THE FREEDOM TO NAVIGATE IN MINDFUL WAYS, KNOWING WE CAN ASK FOR WHAT WE NEED, AND RECEIVE BOUNTIFULLY AND INTIMATELY IN EXPERIENCES THAT ARE MORE ALIGNED WITH HOW WE THINK AND PROCESS.

IT THE TRUEST SORT OF CONNECTION....SOUL-FOOD THAT SATISFIES....A LAYING OF BRICKS ON A PATHWAY WHERE ALL SORTS OF TRUSTWORTHY DIALOGUES CAN OCCUR. PRIMARILY, ITS ABOUT BEING SEEN....AND SEEING....WHICH HAPPENS TO BE THE KEY IN EVERY BIT OF OUR WELLBEING AS A HUMAN. 

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OPEN STUDIO WEDNESDAYS

OPEN STUDIO WEDNESDAYS

TONIGHT! (AUGUST 15TH)

6:30 TO 9:15 PM.

$20 DROP-IN FEE

HERE! AT THE RED BUNGALOW

A TIME FOR SKETCHING....PAINTING...TRYING!

I'LL HAVE AN ART PROMPT, OR YOU CAN BRING YOUR OWN WORK TO THE TABLE.

ALL SUPPLIES ARE PROVIDED...OR BRING YOURS' ALONG.

ICEY-SPICED TEA, AND A BIT OF LEMON TART THIS EVENING.

(MAYBE THE POET WILL SHOW UP!)

IT'S A CREATIVE, RESTORATIVE TIME FOR YOU....

JUST YOU!

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THE MORNING WORK

The Morning Work was actually "middle of the night" Work...as my mind brought a dozen good ideas to the forefront of a project. Reading through the lives, looking at the photographs, jotting down the important-pieces of 11 humans who are known to the world through the ART they created.

And...I think I really believed this before today, BUT in the last 4-hours I find I am calmly, firmly, and certainly convinced once again:

OUR ART SPEAKS THE NARRATIVE.

The facades fall...the secrets come forward...the fears are exposed...the convictions are conveyed.

In the poetry, the lyrics, the acrylics, the script, the aria, the concerto, the smooth pigment pools of the watercolor, the design, the chorus....

THEY SPEAK. Not one artist is exempt. In fact, the data is convincing! This is absolutely risky business...VULNERABLE to continue.

So - here's to the ARTISTS...

Who embrace their humanity! 

And the art therapists - who work to give voice through art because of what they know is true.

Here's to the children who know they feel "calm and happy" when they create. Its really about BEing...and its the stuff of wellbeing...the path to soul-nourishment. It's a bit of wonder, and has powerful implications for mindfulness...for humans of every age.

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