Friday, July 4, 2014

Adventures in "Touch Drawing"

This past week, I've been getting my studio at Allison's Wells back in order after repairs were done to fix a leak.  When I was finished, I decided to try my hand at Touch Drawing, an intuitive drawing process developed by Deborah Koff-Chapin.  I had heard about Touch Drawing a year or so ago and have been eager to try it, but had not had the opportunity until now.  There is much I need to learn, but I wanted to share what I've done thus far…

Happy Face (Stacy Wills, 2014)
acrylics on craft paper

Day 1...This was my first attempt…using acrylic paint (not recommended!) that I had applied too thickly  onto the glass.  The "happy face" that came through though was exactly how I was feeling about having my studio back in working order!

Spirit Dance (Stacy Wills, 2014)
acrylics and NuPastels on craft paper

Day 2…try, try again!  This time I used a more fluid type of acrylic paint  and got a better result.  (Acrylics are generally not a good medium for touch drawing as they tend to dry too quickly; water mixable oil colors are best.)   I  added the color later using pastels.  As I was coloring it, I still could not say exactly what this is a picture of, but the name, "Spirit Dance" came to me.  Looking at it now, I think it could be interpreted in many ways…in the moment of drawing, however, the feeling was one of freedom…of moving with abandon…of energy spiraling up from deep within seeking release.

 Blue Moon (Stacy Wills, 2014)
acrylics and NuPastels on craft paper

I'm still trying to get the hang of putting the  right amount of paint onto the surface of the glass.  Blue Moon actually was a "failed" attempt at touch drawing.  When I pulled the paper away, it was pretty much one blue blob!   I thought perhaps I could salvage it  by creating a mandala out of it, so I drew a circle and waited.  There were two very small, faint marks that I could detect from my original  touch drawing - the sharp slants of the eyes - I started there and a face began to emerge.  As I was working, I was listening to the audible version of Barbara Brown Taylor's book, Learning to Walk in the Dark.  I was listening to the last few chapters where she describes a cave sitting experience and also a visit to Chartres Cathedral to walk the labyrinth.  That led to some moon stories…and...well…I think you get the idea.  Creating while listening to the spoken word…be it a book read aloud, a lecture, sermon  or interview…is my favorite way of doing art.  It serves as a form of lectio divina, where the art I'm making becomes the response to what I'm hearing…it becomes my  prayer.