Zen Seeing and Drawing: Tina’s Working Table


Dear Laura,

I really enjoyed your last post about the book you are reading.  Reading for pleasure?  That is something new!  I love to read.  In fact it is one of my new year’s resolutions- to read at least 30 minutes for pleasure every day.  Not only does it help me learn new things about life, experience beauty in words, and allows my imagination to conjure up worlds, but it is a great coping mechanism for dealing with the stress of each day.  To get lost in another world temporarily is sometimes all I need to get my mind straight and realize what I am worried about is really small in the big scope of things.  And if it isn’t, then I need to start coming up with a plan to fix the wrong! Currently I am reading World Without End by Ken Follett.  It is the follow up to Pillars of the Earth, which was a page turner.  This one is not as good as the first but I am still enjoying it.

Anyway, I wanted to share some other reading I am doing from Fredrick Franck’s book Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing: Meditation in Action.  I have put in my schedule for the semester (which starts tomorrow) two hours a week for walking and drawing.  It is my hope to reconnect with nature and myself on a weekly basis.  I know this sounds odd, but the weekly schedule of work, studio, parenting, roller derby, and chores often disconnects me from the inner peace of knowing oneself well.  It’s not that I don’t love these activities and people I have built in my life, it simply involves a lot of compromise.  The inner Tina needs some attention too.    As Fred says…

“Once we start to draw, all of a sudden we begin to see again.  Were we blind? How could we have ignored the beauty, the intricacies of these ‘simplest things,’ the convoluted network of veins in an oak leaf, the graceful curve of a clover’s stem, the starry splendor of a humble dandelion, the voluptuous curves of a green pepper?”


I am also studying the watercolors of Joseph Turner.  I have always been captivated by his oil paintings of landscapes.  The golden yellows, burnt umber, deep purples and blues are the color pallette I prefer to use in my own work. He will be my teacher on how to incorporate this natural, muted tone with pastels and watercolors.  I have started to use them in my feather drawings like this one.


I am glad to be a witness to your own development as an artist this year Laura.  Simplifying your to-do list is one big step to happiness my friend. You are only one person even though you write down the work of about five!

Talk with you soon.


p.s. This tea cup was made by Miyako Fujiwara.  She is awesome! My son actually bought this cup from her on a recent visit to Cone 10 Studios in Charleston.

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