More from Frederick Franck’s The Awakened Eye:

“Instead of the pleasures of so-called ‘self-expression,’ you will discover a greater one:  the joy of letting a leaf, a branch, express itself, its being, through you.”

An iris so purple, it's black.

An iris so purple, it’s black.

Watercolor sketch of iris using paper from France (Moulin a Papier de Provence)

Watercolor sketch of iris using paper from France (Moulin a Papier de Provence)

” . . . seeing — for instance — what it is to be a blade of grass.  Or rather: that a blade of grass does not exist — that only this particular blade of grass exists; and that ‘a’ man, ‘a’ woman are figments of the imagination, only this particular man or woman is real.  Drawing the Ten Thousand Things is a way of loving, of being in love with life by seeing each thing in its singularity.”

Kitty's iris garden on Samish Island

Kitty’s iris garden on Samish Island

Imagine drawing ten thousand things, starting with each of these irises in Kitty’s garden.  This reminds me of the so-called 10,000 hour rule for mastery.  I agree that in order to become a better painter, I need to work more regularly, even daily.  But with my choppy “paid” work schedule, I seem to repeatedly grind to a halt.  I am constantly starting again.  This is my particular challenge these days.

I am always happier when my day includes some drawing or painting.  Here is a good way to look at my efforts:  “Measure your life in the number of times you do things.  When you die: are you 2 writing sessions old?  Or are you 50,000?”  —  James Altucher, from “The Only Technique to Learn Something New”

The singularity of this particular iris

The singularity of this particular iris

 

 

Watercolor sketch of Iris from Kitty's garden

Watercolor sketch of Iris from Kitty’s garden using Maryam’s paper from France (Moulin a Papier de Provence)

I was in a receptive frame of mind to hear the lessons Frederick Franck presents in his book, The Awakened Eye:  A Companion Volume to The Zen of Seeing (1979).  He advocates for a contemplative way of seeing and of practicing drawing as meditation.  He says:

“I have this life —
of which most is gone —
to spend . . .  or to waste . . . ”

Kitty's iris garden on Samish Island

Kitty’s iris garden on Samish Island

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“These drawings were done
for one reason only:
to SEE before I die . . .”  — Frederick Franck

“The meaning of life is to see.”  — Hui Neng

Oh, yes.

Jazzed by Irises

May 18, 2015

Iris 'Jazz Festival'

Iris ‘Jazz Festival’

This morning I returned to Kitty’s garden on Samish Island to paint with “the Bow ladies.”  I was jazzed by all the new blooms in Kitty’s iris beds.  I will be sharing more photos later this week, but for today let’s gaze on the multicolored ‘Jazz Festival’ iris.  I was totally captivated by its flouncy petals, graceful structure, and glorious colors.

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Painting in Kitty’s garden

Watercolor sketch of 'Jazz Festival' irises from Kitty's garden

Watercolor sketch of ‘Jazz Festival’ irises from Kitty’s garden