As everything in life right now, I've found myself stripping even my art down to basics. I've spent lots of time lately with my pens, doodling full pages of images, and illustrating lettering with simple botanical motifs. It's been calming. One of the best things that I did for myself so far this year was to sign up for Carla Sonheim's year long class, Words and Pictures. Carla (I almost feel like I know her!) and her husband produce phenomenal classes. In this one, she's invited guest artists to assist with her lessons in all aspects of combining drawing with writing. New classes air every two weeks, and after a week and a half, I am longing for the next one to go up.
This last Tuesday's session was taught by Carla, with a guest lesson from writer Beth Kephart. Carla asked us to work with ballpoint pens for the next two weeks. My first response was, ballpoint? and huh. I dug some brand new Bics out of my art stash and started playing around. Since I've been doing lettering, it seemed a natural extension to go at it with a ballpoint. I had forgotten how smooth ballpoint is on a nice piece of paper. It's so easy to make bold strokes, light strokes, and to shade. HUH. I was able to relax and make tiny marks. A tiny mark here, a sigh. A tiny mark there, and I could feel my shoulders relaxing. After I was finished, I felt good, proud even, of what I created. And that's my point---let's be proud of what we're accomplishing (or not) during this weird time. We're here. We're being. And that's enough.