Hollyhock: Cortes Island
July 19-23, 2023
Drawing Towards The Earth:
Making Journals and Self Portraits for Life
Photo credits: S. Portico Bowman, 2019
All images from Kathy H. Smith,
Hollyhock Summer 2022
and my amazing cousin.
When I taught at my university as an art professor my favourite class was the Designed World class. It was a three hour night class and the semester would open with a room filled with fear. This was the required fine art credit for non-art majors. This was me taking math. Accounting students, diesel mechanics and biology majors would stare at me in disbelief when I would tell them I was going to teach them to draw, and that the entire process will take fifteen minutes. They couldn't leave. It was the first night. I mean, I guess they could have, but typically you tough out the first night and then you don't come back. But I would deliver on my promise. Most of them would come back, and I would help them make art. The semester would end and they left with handmade books and laughter.
Betty Edwards, in her classic text, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain taught me how to draw, and she taught me how to teach you. If you can talk, you have the mind to draw. However, what I'll do is explain why you want to stop talking long enough so you can draw what I'll show you to see. It's that simple.
At Hollyhock I'll focus on these basic easy to learn principles, and you can practice how much or little you want. I also want to take us outside for a more embodied drawing experience in Nature. We're going to make our own charcoal, and access more of what Nature offers to draw with. You can find your comfort zone within this range.
Art making for me is deeply influenced by the philosophy of Paulus Berensohn. I'm near the end of the book I'm writing that is inspired by Paulus, his life, and his way of making art. Paulus was not driven by a need for perfection and skill but he was interested in a participatory consciousness that engages with creativity at the Source. This has little to do with making perfect pictures and objects. His life and work has taught me that artistic excellence is found in showing up to my desire to engage with the unknown and see what can be discovered.
The self-portrait as an ideal, or idea, is a juicy, rich, compost pile to dig into and pull from in any artistic or literary medium. I will invite you to consider what this format can offer you to create a space that will teach you about you.
And we'll talk a lot about what Paulus has taught me. This magical teacher has given me wings and I've never met but in my imagination. I want you to leave this workshop with your wings.