Posts Tagged ‘One Hundred and Twenty’

Beginner’s Mind

Posted on: September 3rd, 2015 by jmbroekman 6 Comments


Mill Pond Park, Swan’s Island, Maine

The judge and jury in my mind have been working overtime this summer. So, I was somewhat reluctant when my friend Shirley suggested we go to a watercolor class while we were on Swan’s Island last week. Resistance is often an indicator that I’m up against something I can’t see. And yet, generally speaking, my stubborn persistent nature, won’t let resistance get the upper hand. Good thing too.

We spent two hours sitting at a picnic table, looking out on a beautiful outgoing tide harbor view, drawing while Iver Lofving gave clear step by step instructions, and entertaining commentary. It turned out to be the best thing I could’ve asked for.

I approached the whole enterprise with a beginner’s mind; putting aside these past few years of doing almost daily watercolor and pen drawings; ignoring the voices that told me I should already know what I’m doing. And went with an open mind, hoping to learn new tricks. What I really learned was that the clamor of judging voices in my head doesn’t know nearly as much as I give them credit for. That if I let go of any preconceived ideas of what the painting should look like, or what I should already know how to do, or the presumption that I know anything at all, I might actually be able to get lost in looking at what’s in front of me, and let my hands do the rest.

The truth is, all my years of looking and mark making, all of the experiences I have both in and out of the studio, have already left their imprints, and are already at my disposal for making decisions and new marks. It’s all already in my DNA. I just have to learn how to trust that, and allow for so-called wrong moves (which in my recent work seem to have outnumbered the “right” ones). It all leads me further along on the path I happen to be traveling on.

So, my two hours in class with the beginner’s mind approach proved to be an indispensable awareness reset. Which of course, is kind of like what spending a week on Swan’s Island can do for the soul as well. Ahhhh, what a relief.

Thus, having hit the reset button, I am empowered and psyched to tunnel back into studio work with eyes wide open. Armed with renewed energy, and the turning of a calendar page, I am embarking on another daily drawing adventure to get me through the end of the year: 120 days/120 drawings. Ready set GO!