In March 2009 I went on an art retreat, facilitated by the beautiful, kind and diplomatic Emma Willemse and hosted by the fierce and talented artist Samma at her farm just outside Dullstroom. I did not accomplish much in terms of finished works, just a little nest
that has since withered
a drawing that was repurposed as a book
and some bad poetry.
Throughout the entire weekend, however, I was imbued with this sense that every action I was taking was anartwork. I was so in touch with the land there: in finishing the nest (mounted in a tree by the pond), I walkedto the forest along the stream seven times, barefoot in the mud, gathering these delicate purple flowers to thenest one by one. It was a performance and my audience was two salmon fish, in their silent way staring at mefrom just below the pond’s surface.
I’ve just started Week Three of The Artist’s Way. My expectations of the coursewill maybe be met a bit later – creative excercises to get me to do some art. Instead, so far, it has been aboutconnecting with the moment, relishing things I love even though these things may be totally unrelated to theactual artmaking. And one of the changes I’ve implemented is taking breaks from my computer and going outside.My apple break in the morning is spent on the smoker’s (and drinker’s from the look of the rubbish pile) roof.
It’s beautiful – a sweeping view of the highway towards Joburg. I’m amazed every day by how many trees thereare. And the butterflies. And the hummingbirds. And the swallows – there were hundreds of them on Tuesday and onWednesday there were about ten. Sign of the season changing? I wouldn’t even have noticed if I ate my apple infront of Facebook like I did in the past.
The other change I’ve brought in is to walk during my lunch break. My office is located in a nature reserve. Ittakes about two minutes and then I’m submerged in nature, no tar, no cars, just me and the rocks and the poorstartled partridge.
How has this impacted my artmaking? So far, not at all. But Ms Cameron promises small and powerful changes in mylife. And for now, I’m just reconnecting with attending to the beauty and abundance of the life that is here.
(For those who have read the book, consider this my “flora and fauna report”).
(Oh and to cure you from my bad poetry, here is my current favourite one by someone else)