April 21st, 2006
drawing quiet


I started teaching a drawing class last night. I brought in several favourite books with different drawing styles. I wanted to bring all my books at once but my bike was buckling with the weight. So I had to select just a few. Five a week from now on.
As I was showing them I found it hard to contain my excitment at each artists various processes, methods, use of line. The more I spoke the more excited I became to sit down and do some drawings myself. It just reminded me how much I am doing exactly the thing that I am meant to do. I could look at ink lines forever it seems. Nothing moves me more that a pen line with a watercolor wash. As I turned the pages showing the simplest of drawings I asked, ‘have you ever seen anything so wonderful?’ Good drawings come from the inside, reflecting the artist’s state of mind or sense of being. It has nothing to do with technical ability or amount of detail. A simple line can evoke emotion.
among my favourites:
a red sun lithograph by miro, in “drawing the sun” by Bruno Munari
peach blossoms done in pen with a light wash from a beautiful new book, “A Year in Japan” by Kate T. Williamson
the quick pen scratches of Maira Kalman, excerpted in “drawing from life” by Jennifer New
a crunchy loaf of bread done in pen, from “the creative license” by Danny Gregory
Sometimes when I teach there is so much I want to say, it all comes out in a passionate arm waving flurry. And yet when it was time to become quiet, when we sat down to do some drawing of our own I was met with the jarring absence of noise. Just peaceful silence with the sound of a pen scratching. and I realized how beautiful that absence was too. There is also a lot to be learned from the quiet.
it is the best form of meditation, sitting with a pen and an eye bent on paying attention.
“to pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” ~mary oliver

Apr 21 2006
12:46 pm
eliane writes:

I for me am very glad I am not meant to do teaching. But I am also glad others are. My son is living from art class to art class, he told me yesterday.

Apr 21 2006
1:19 pm
mati writes:

oh you must be an amazing teacher! what a great fit:) your enthusiasm is contagious!

Apr 21 2006
2:50 pm
Amy writes:

I bet you

Apr 21 2006
4:13 pm
it's friday! :) writes:

Lucky students!!

Apr 21 2006
5:19 pm
patricia writes:

So true, everything you said about drawing.
Love the peaceful face.

Apr 21 2006
7:30 pm
natasha writes:

when i (attempt to) teach anyone anything i have the problem of getting too excited and trying to say everything at once.
i bet you are an inspiring teacher.

Apr 21 2006
7:53 pm
Terry Garrett writes:

I am so happy to hear of your excitement about teaching- I have been in arts education for 30 years- i have loved it all- I have taught all ages.
The last 4 have been at the university level and the more I get excited the more the students get excited what a great mix- I always say teaching is a rich exchange- as the teacher i get to see the world through news sets of eyes (those of the students) It’s the gift. Have fun- Terry

Apr 21 2006
8:54 pm
Sabine S. writes:

Congratulations on your teaching :-) If I lived anywhere near you, I would certainly attend the classes…. too bad I can’t….
Today, after a quick stop at Barnes and Noble, I picked up your book Living Out Loud. I’ve pretty much forgotten to eat, sleep, drink, and let the dog out the entire day.. I’m completely engrossed. Wonderful writing, Keri :-)

Apr 22 2006
2:45 am
Leonie writes:

this excites my innards so much :)

Apr 22 2006
2:50 am
Geo writes:

“It just reminded me how much I am doing exactly the thing that I am meant to do.”
What a beautiful realization that is! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of us made the decisions that would enable us to say that of our lives? This world would be so different. Congratulations on find the real deal.
I’m glad I found your blog. I lost track of the path I took to get here, but I manage to find my way back often!

Apr 22 2006
9:26 am
Lee writes:

I like this post. It’s great that you’re exactly where you should be doing, exactly what you’re meant to do! I like the quote about good drawings coming from the inside… I may have to post that myself!

Apr 22 2006
9:39 am
Ingrid writes:

How wonderful and lucky that you do what gives you joy.

Apr 22 2006
10:25 am
tracy writes:

reading your passionate posts always makes me want to go and create — this time, with pen and watercolor. Thanks for the bibliography, too! Just added ‘em all to my wishlist. The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore had a great exhibit on line last year:
http://www.thewalters.org/html/exhibit_past_detail_simp.asp?ID=127
SO moving, as you said.
I could have sworn they had a publication associated with it, but couldn’t find it.
Thank you for the gifts you share with us and with your lucky students!

Apr 22 2006
11:59 am
donovan writes:

keri~
i couldn’t help recommend this author- even though there is a good chance you’ve already heard of him and his watercolor books: Miroslav Sasek. in the early 60′s he made children’s books about great places in the world.”This is Paris”, This is…San Francisco/ New York/ Venice/ Ireland/ etc. I wouldn’t suggest these if i didn’t think you would really enjoy his work- : )
~donovan

Apr 22 2006
3:39 pm
PJ writes:

what neat books….I wish I could be in your class!

Apr 23 2006
3:31 pm
bohemiangirl writes:

i can imagine your art classes are full of open mindedness, not following rules and complete acceptance.
with all the classes i have taken, i had only one art teacher such as this and i gained much wisdom from her. she inspired me to find my own unique voice with my art.
if you are ever teaching a workshop in the San Diego area…do let me know.
i am thrilled for you and this opportunity to inspire your students.

Apr 23 2006
3:41 pm
Bonnie writes:

I’m pleased to see your mention of Danny Gregory’s book. I picked it up recently and found it highly accessible as a creatively inclined but technically clueless person. :-) Sometimes “art” books and “creativity” books can be intimidating to the frustrated novice. His and yours stand out from the crowd as decidedly empowering.

Apr 24 2006
3:54 pm
vegasandvenice writes:

How lucky your students are. I have the hardest time meditating on what an object looks like. I get a bit overwhelmed. I am in awe of those who can do it so well!

Apr 24 2006
7:56 pm
Samantha writes:

How I would love to take your class. I love passionate teachers; they always motivate me to learn. I’m sure you’re doing the same for your students.
I have been wanting to read A Year In Japan primarily for the illustration! I haven’t found a copy of it for myself yet.
I love getting lost in the focus of drawing. It’s like I’m in a dream.

Apr 25 2006
12:13 pm
Swirly writes:

Alert! Psychic moment alert!
1. I just spent the evening a few nights ago reading “A Year in Japan” cover to cover.
2. I just pulled out “Drawing from Life” last night to pick up where I left off before we moved.
I think our bookshelves might look like mirror images of each other. SWEET!

Apr 27 2006
7:45 pm
Linda writes:

Keri, I can’t tell you in words what your’ewords on drawing teaching has ment to me. I have to be a self taught person living where I do not enough good classes there cutting back there are hardly any state art progarames any more such a loss. Anyways if I could I would truly love to come to youre classes and have you teach me. It would be to my benifit because youre a true artist that cares, just by her words it was wonderful. Thank-you again for the books ect but teaching and loving it,
Linda

Apr 29 2006
8:46 pm
patricia writes:

I totally agree with you: great drawings (and great art) come from the inside, it


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