Monthly Archives: November 2016

Performance Art

“Resting in the Beauty” DS

Today, again, it comes to me that facilitating is a form of performance art. It was especially obvious to me last month as local teacher from Emily Carr University; Jeanne Krabbendam enlivened us at the Ferry Building Gallery with her banter. Her accent, so Dutch, alone brings a smile of delight to my eyes. Her inclusion in discussions welcomes participants’ eager responses to her useful material. We had a popcorn critique of two abstract paintings as follows:

The Elements of Art –








And Principles of Design –








The morning started well for me when we chatted at length as she walked by my chair.  As if I was her peer she shared with me her challenges of the recent art tours she led to her birth land. As a facilitator myself I identified with many aspects of group dynamics to be managed. As I listened with restrained awe to her readiness to offer painting and gallery visits from small boat tours again, I too knew the love of introducing people to the beauty and meaning of making and viewing art.

Her appearance exuded her taste. Short textured dark brown hair with a shock of mahogany above dark green spectacles – contrasting colours, and bright raspberry lipstick below darkened eyes kept the focus on what she was saying. On her tiny frame, a thin-striped black and white tunic topped black leggings and boots. Yet it was her happy playful eyes that attracted others to her pedagogy. She lives what she verbalizes. She lives an art life (as if you could distinguish to the two). Her life and her art flow seamlessly into one another. This is what attracts and keeps her followers: joie de vivre.

Although it is more blessed to give than to receive, there are exceptions. Although I could have led the group discussion myself, it was refreshing to receive a different style of leadership from someone whose platform and practice differs markedly from mine. I was not only receiving her take on how to view paintings but I absorbed and reflected her passion for teaching.

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

 Book of Psalms



“Dark and Light” iPhone Photo DS

At Rivendell I was at my most friendly. I had come out of my solitary cell to see and talk with people. I smiled during silent ‘chapel’ time. I introduced myself to strangers in the hall and on the sidewalk. Breakfast lunch and dinner became a time for chatting and the treasure of getting to know strangers. I even talked poetry with a group from the States.

Most returned my friendliness. Others smiled and retreated to their rooms. One made me know with a look that I was not part of her group and how dare I take up her time when she was here to get to know them better. One woman closed the kitchen door and actually faced me down telling me that I was too loud. After my shock had abated, I apologized saying that I did not realize that.

I had assuaged my feelings of isolation there with some rich conversations. I was getting caught up on my reading. The day before I left, I read the ‘personal retreat’ page in the manual on the desk. I had not taken the time to read the binder as I had been at Rivendell three times before, but never on a personal retreat. It was then that I read that silence was a virtue as some, on the third floor, were there on silent retreat.

Uggh, I had embarrassed myself again. I blushed in private. In breaking my silence I had violated theirs. I became quiet. I returned home quiet.

How often have I been out of step with my peers? I have continued on aware of some difference with people but unknowing of the reason? This is why I need an all-knowing God for guidance daily to recover from my blunderings.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Book of First Corinthians