I blog for several reasons. Among the strongest pulls towards the blogging culture is connecting with others like me. With that in mind, I love doing challenges. Not only do they stretch me, but they introduce me to new, wonderful people and their unique views of the world. Often I walk away either discovering something new or remembering something precious about myself that I forgot. And if the connection with the other is strong, my time with their words and images stays with me, resonating like a deep felt note.
Such was the case early this morning as I fumbled my way through some of the artists participating in Leah Piken Kolidas’s month long challenge, Art Every Day Month (AEDM). Leah modeled her event after a writing challenge which sets it’s participants up to write a novel during the month of November. Some day I want to do that challenge, but Leah’s challenge meets my current needs for diving into the art on a regular basis.
Let me share with you what I discovered last night. So many participants (375 at current count) have committed to making art everyday this month that there is no way for me to visit every one, so I closed my eyes and tapped my mouse over a handful of artists. Each one took a unique approach. I poked around their sites a bit before leaving. And this morning, I found my mind lingering on two that I visited.
The first one, Dave Rowley of Creative Chai, offered what appeared to be a series of art cards. At the bottom of one of his posts, I discovered he had done this challenge last year and focused on art and commentary regarding labyrinths. As I have shared recently, I have spent over a year with you and not effectively delved into some of my most dear interests. Connecting with Dave’s art reminded me of my long-time interest in labyrinths.
I recalled times when I had utilized the labyrinth, either through walking it, creating one myself, or drawing them. I found my mind floating through visits to the labyrinth in the church just outside my neighborhood, through memories of having created my own on the beach not far from home, taking in the joy of watching others discover the magical moments that rose up as they found their way to the center and back again. I thought about having walked a labyrinth during the Peace Vigil of 2001 on the lawn at the Washington Monument in D.C. and feeling as if I were at the heart of a multitude of nationalities offering prayers in their native tongue for world peace just days after the attacks on 9-11. Art is moving, and Dave’s art inspired a layer of peace that I especially needed in my life today. It connected me through the symbol of the labyrinth to moments in my life for which I had used this introspective tool to help move me to new understandings about myself and the world.
The other artist that stuck with me was Carla Forte of Drawing It Out. Her work from day one of AEDM was exciting and spontaneous. She approached a still life and brought life to it with energetic color and line. I kept finding myself wanting to sneak away from my day to dive into the line on the page. My current relationship with art has been to walk a very succinct path which leads directly to birthing my business. But you know what they say about all work and no play.
This type of spontaneous drawing has been a kind of salvation for me in the past. My automatic drawings tends to turn into doodle maps with words and emotions flowing out. Something inside me starts letting go and just like the kind of energy one might get from dancing or singing their hearts out, I feel I have connected with something sacred in myself. It is powerful.
So today’s AEDM offering is a drawing which took Dave’s labyrinth study as inspiration and blended it with Carla’s Zen-like process. The results are a map of feelings, memories, inklings, and inspiration. The image is free of design elements, lets symbolism and story flow out effortlessly. No inclination to sell it or turn it into something profitable. It is just for me, an experience of the present moment, now shared with you.