Landscape and Waterscape Meditations

I keep my sketchbook next to the phone. When I enjoy a long conversation with a loved one, I mindlessly doodle. My muscles seem to contain a nervous volition, all their own. At the end of the call, I glance at the abstract drawing and label it with the person’s name: “Karen’s Call,” “Jon’s Call.” 

My hands won’t sketch during a business call. At those times, they seem to be at attention, ready to take notes or sort through papers. To make unconscious designs, I need relaxation and the certainty that I am loved.

When I’d collected ten or so drawings, much to my surprise, I noticed that each one had a distinct character, capturing the innate energy of what I’d shared with my beloved friend or family member. The ink lines made on the call to Donna had more loops. On Lois’ call, the lines were spiky and angular. These abstract expressionist line drawings began to interest me. I put two drawings together, combining the energies of loved ones.

Whenever I stared at the drawings in meditation, I saw patterns. By placing certain drawings near to one another or cutting a shape and collaging it next to another piece, I emphasized repetitious designs that intrigued me.

Sometimes, during calls to my loved ones, I drew on long strips of drawing paper, with brushes. I made abstract ink drawings thirty inches long and six inches wide while I chatted.

One day, a few months ago, I craved color. Before this inspiration, black and white had felt complete. I added pastel layers of tinted inks, acrylic paint or diluted oil washes. Color brought the other great love of my life into visual perception: nature. 

Blue washes added to the ink line background became the desert shadows that I savored when I hiked in dry mountains. When ochre swatches of color overlaid ink lines, to my eyes, they depicted the energies I perceived in desert alluvial fans.

When I combined the larger ink lines on the strips of paper with the tinier lines, I enjoyed contrasts in the compositions. With color, the larger ink designs became, in my mind’s eye, water in flow: waves and currents.

A new series of work continues: Landscape and Waterscape Meditations. They express the exuberance I enjoy in my close relationships to nature and to some special humans.