Letting the light in

I often find myself in a fog when I try something new.

Take last week, for example.

I was very excited about attending my first session of a nature sketchbook drawing series.

After a few minutes of introductions and instruction, I found myself on a bench by a weedy marsh and started drawing.

But just two hours later I was blindsided when I saw the incredible talent of my co-students as they placed their notebooks on the picnic table to share at the end of class.

Embarrassed by my own manic scribbling, I kept mine hidden away in a old backpack.

Talking to the teacher yesterday before the start of the second session, I realized the majority of students had taken classes from the instructor before.

My fog suddenly lifted.

And I saw the light.

I no longer felt ignorant asking her basic questions like “do I need to add water to a water color pencil” or “just how do you sharpen it?”

And then I relaxed, which is the instructor’s main goal for the nature series.

I soon found I was enjoying myself as I mixed colors and tried new techniques.

Sure, I have a long way to go to fine tune my skills, but isn’t that the point of instruction and practice anyway?

Writer Natalie Goldberg, who is also a teacher and artist, has written a new book called “The Great Spring: Writing, Zen and This Zigzag Life.”

In it she writes: “There is no cure for human life, except to live it, being willing to rip off blinders as we go and let the light in.”

She also refers to writing as “a training in waking up.”

I’m thinking the same can definitely be said of drawing.

It turns out I may just need a second sketchbook.

Oh, and a pair of sunglasses for sure.

Artist of flowers

Flowers for me are tools of joy.

Much like gold, spun fine then threaded through long needles, they’re stitched together into the rich handiwork before me.

Gentle hues in harmony, pleasing to my weary eyes.

Offering light gifts of perfume, floating on a breeze in my direction.

Their soft long petals offering respite, as the monarch has found deep within.

The seamstress today is not me, but a smiling street vendor proudly showing off her bouquets one by one.

I too was a flower artist as a young girl.

Now my smiles are more golden than my handiwork.

But the joy remains forever priceless.