Friday, July 18, 2014

She remembers how to draw

Occasionally I fill in for the art teacher at a Senior Center.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of being there, and I always enjoy seeing what they have been working on since my last visit.
But, it isn't always easy.

There is a woman who is brought to class by her husband. She doesn't know her name, and I am unable to have a conversation with her.  I lay out her drawing and her colored pencils, taking out the colors she is most likely to use, instruct her where to work next and she slowly layers color.  
In small quiet strokes she works - not truly present.
And it breaks my heart.
But, she is creating art. And yesterday I saw something remarkable.

She was working with her slow quiet strokes of color when two men in the class started talking, and I see now that it broke what little concentration she had. She put down the pencil, crossed her arms, and just glazed over.  When it quieted down I went back to her, quietly handed her a pencil and showed her where she could use that color.
She began slowly and tentatively again with the small strokes.

After about 10 minutes her whole body language started to change.  She sat straighter, leaning toward her picture, tilting her head this way and that to view her progress - and most remarkably her pencil strokes became stronger, bolder, swifter. She started changing colors and using the pencils with a bold purposeful hand!  
I kept my distance so not to disturb her, but I couldn't take my eyes off her!
She was clear, determined, focused - and my God, she was present!

This beautiful woman who can't write or tell me her name, that needs moment to moment assistance with her tasks - was fully present with her art, and boldly creating her drawing.  
There was no confusion in her eyes, there was no glaze.  It was a remarkable thing to see.

She has forgotten so very much - but she remembers how to draw!! 
Flowers as I left the class that seemed to express the joy I felt!

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