• Kathleen Cassen Mickelson

Artist’s Way Check In #1

Today marks the end of my first week of moving through The Artist’s Way for 2012.

If any of you are following along, you know that weekly check-ins are an essential part of The Artist’s Way. It’s a time to figure out what works and what doesn’t, what emerges as important and what comes up as a surprise.

As I tried to figure out my own artist’s date for this week, I decided I wanted to play around with paint. I had a master vision of painting some kind of abstraction based on close-ups of stuff in my garden.  I mentioned this to my son, Shawn, who is a Minneapolis-based artist. He said, Mom, if you want to paint, learn to draw.

So, my surprise this week is that I began drawing lessons. Shawn is a pretty good teacher. He’s a mince-no-words critic, and I work best with directness which means this is a good fit. Today I’m playing with gray scales and learning to use different types of pencils – graphite, charcoal, conté – and trying to squelch that voice that has always told me I can’t draw worth a damn. I’ve always wanted to draw and so do I really want to give credit to any message that I can’t? Hell no. Not right now. Besides, nobody is going to see this stuff but me. Well, and Shawn, so he can tell me what lesson to do next.

What does this do for my writing life?

I’m a big believer in trying to look at things through an assortment of lenses. Looking at what’s around me as potential for something to sketch makes me look at space differently, makes me think about lines differently. It shakes up my perspective. That shake-up is something I can take back to the writing desk. Every time I write something, I have a picture in my head. I think those picture are about to shift.

How did your first week of 2012 surprise you? What other art would you do to shake up your writing?

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