And if you thought I meant cocaine....sorry, I don't do THOSE lines.
It had been a while since I touched my sketch books. My colleague, Mike Smalley, encouraged me to start drawing again to get my creative fluidity going again. I sat there with my sketch book, a pencil in my hand, not knowing what to draw. Blank...blank....blank.... Not that my mind was blank, it was full of thoughts, but I didn't know what to do with those thoughts in relation to the paper and pencil. Eventually, I began scribbling: random lines, squiggles, messiness, doodles, getting more aggressive with the lines....just empyting my mind, feeling my way through the pencil onto paper.
Messiness. Life just felt messy at that time. I began thinking about what one does when life feels messy. We try to put it in order, but that is a reaction of how one person feels the order should be. One person's order is my idea of a mess, while my order is another's worst nightmare (not entirely unheard of!). So, like many lessons learned, I had to let go, again.
I needed focus. I took those scribbled lines and straighten them out, using micropens - much more permanent. One straight line across the entire page. I challenged myself to make the straightest line possible. Of course, it was impossible. I made another line, just below it, making sure I wasn't just following the previous line. I made another line, above the first line, following the same premise, not to be influence by the previous two lines. None of the lines were perfectly or evenly straight. There were straight sections, but there were dips, kinks, thicker and thinner parts and gaps when the pen didn't touch the paper at all. I had to be patient with each line, rushing it just took the line out of control. Since I am using pen, existence is permanent and there is no hiding of any flaws with super fine nibs - it is what it is. I became aware that I was holding my breathe as I was drawing the lines; remember to breath through each line. I couldn't erase any lines, it was permanent ink on paper, so there it was forever. Every line was different. Each start was slightly different as was each end. Each and every time: Start.....draw......end. Over and over again, line after line after line, until the entire page was covered with lines.It was very pleasant to look at. It looked organic. In fact, it looked like wood grain. It was very natural.
I realized, doing lines was doing life. Each line is its own experience. It is the practice of patience, breathing, imperfections, acceptance, beginnings and endings and everything in between, staying focused and being in the moment. As I started doing more pages of lines, I noticed more subtleties in my practice, like how my body was positioned, where I tightened up and stiffened. I needed to relax and sit comfortably. I needed to slow down. I needed to be gentle with myself and not get frustrated. There are no do-overs in life and the mistakes you thought you made in life, just added to the bigger picture. I needed to let go. I thought I learned that lesson through my Cascade Collection, but apparently, I needed to learn it again.
The Cascade Collection, while it looks very different aesthetically with all the lines moving up and down, share the same philosophy. They are created with the intention of letting go of complete control, acceptance of imperfection (which in turn becomes perfect), beauty as a whole picture, patience and breath.
I look forward to doing my lines every day. It's my time to reflect, to be mindful and aware, like a meditation. I may make a perfectly straight line, I may not, but in the end, it doesn't matter because I tried.