Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Spring Meditation

Mid-March greetings! We had a nice getaway to the Twin Cities over the spring break, but as everyone knows, taking a break from the routine often creates more work once you try to get back to it. But things are unpacked, laundry is done and I got to spend enough time in the studio yesterday to make two new drawings!

I've always loved white-on-white, but I fell in love with it all over again when I started adding white ink to the daily drawings I had been making of late. So, to extend it, I've made these two new pieces that start with pencil and white ink on Japanese paper. These are two different types of Japanese paper, one of which is much warmer than the other. The finished drawings are backed with a warm toned drawing paper, so they don't appear actually as white paper anymore, actually.

The white ink actually looks fairly inconsequential when I'm making the drawing...in fact, on the top one, it is barely visible....until the finished drawing hits the beeswax and then the richness and the contrast comes out. A bit like magic!

Speaking of meditation....last week I had a brief conversation with the gentleman that was taking care of a few "handyman" tasks around the house. He actually has an engineering background and seemed genuinely interested in the work that my husband and I do in our studios, which comprise the entire downstairs of the house.  As most of my readers know by now, I am the opposite of an engineer in temperament and in the intuitive way I work, so I was momentarily speechless as to how to answer him when he asked, "So where do you get your ideas?" He was working on changing the ballasts on some of the lights in my studio (so I could actually see again!) and I was working on a drawing. I relayed my usual response about thinking through my hands and the intuitive nature of how I work and thought, even as the words escaped my lips, how very strange that must sound to someone who works in a left-brain precision based world. It's quite a leap and hard to describe what it actually means to me when I say I think through my hands. I don't have "ideas" when I start....the work flows through me. I sound like some sort of nut! This brief moment made me question my assumptions about how I communicate just what it is I do...the how and the why of it. So, I've been thinking...

But maybe it makes more sense if I make an analogy that more people can relate to. What if I say...it's like taking a walk. How do you get the idea of how you are going to take your walk? You just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving....if you don't have a destination in mind, you saunter along....or even walk at a brisk pace, but you really aren't thinking so distinctly about the activity. You just take a walk....it's hard to describe that too, but it's something most of us do. Does that even make sense as an analogy? When I make a drawing, it's kind of like taking a walk and I don't know where I'll end up....I just put one foot in front of the other, so to speak It's one thingto be talking to another artist and say, "I think through my hands" and quite another to speak to someone for whom that will sound like a foreign language. 

Communication is important and how we relate to one another is so embedded in the communication between people. One of the many things that has stuck with me from my recent class in Intercultural Communication is that we cannot not communicate. Everything we do....our gestures, facial expressions, the spaces we inhabit and the words we use.....everything is communication. One simple conversation with a near stranger asking some genuine questions about my work is an opportunity for creating new insights and clearing new pathways as a result of the communication that unfolds. A reminder to be mindful!

I do hope you have a fine week. Love hearing from you and welcome your comments and insights!


  1. Beautiful new pieces! And I love the meditation on the conversation you had with the handyman. I was just writing the other day about the creative "lineage" of women in my family, and found myself also considering the relevance of the creative problem-solving of the men (who are mainly in engineering fields). They are enthusiastic & love to get involved in the "artsy" work of their female counterparts, but for the most part they cannot grasp what is actually going on in the minds of the artists, or the way in which we work/think (or, more like, intuit) our way through things! Your walk analogy is definitely worth passing on... And learning how to communicate more mindfully can only help us all, as it means people with different perspectives can better help each other!

    1. A resounding YES to everything you said in your comment! I somehow have this notion, which is probably naive, that we can all learn to understand each other. I don't suppose I'll ever come to have the mind of an engineer (I'm certainly glad many people do tho!), but what we can hope for, as you suggest, is that we can learn to respect and help each other through the differences. We need everyone and everyone's skills and ways of seeing the world in order to create the whole. Glad you like the walking analogy....it made sense to me! Thanks for your insights and comments!

  2. Perhaps you should quote Paul Klee... "A drawing is simply a line going for a walk"
    I'm an abstract artist too, its really hard to explain that although I like and appreciate the real world and realistic art, what emerges from my fingers is abstract, but I don't decide that, it just is.

    1. Beverley....I forgot all about that quote. I wish I'd thought of it while I was writing that post, but so glad you have mentioned it. Perfect! Yes, I too appreciate so many aspects of the real world, but it all comes filtered through my hands....not a straight depiction, but a kind of interpretation. Who can ever explain in language what comes through entirely different channels. Thanks so much for your comment! Cheers!


I'm happy to hear from you...comments and questions are welcome!