“Nitobe Memorial Garden” DS, iPhone Photo, April 2017
So I am a colourist. There’s no doubt about it. I like colour. Today I am surrounded by greens; layers and layers and shapes of greens at Nitobe, an Asian garden on the UBC campus.
Huddled in my knitted forest green scarf with clear and emerald hand-tied beads and navy hooded coat, I sit to rest. The planked bench is dry. I take the Caesar Salad container out of my grey felted bag and eat. The lemon wakes me. I swish around the breadcrumbs in my mouth with water from a green gingham lidded jam jar I carry with me often since art school days.
Students crunch by walking on the path. They overwhelm my quiet peace for a while with their heated discussion. Photographers set up tripods in a couple of places in the distance; a waterfall rushes, bringing movement to the still water under the arced wooden bridge. In this day, when the rain has taken a break and the sunshine has not started, the greens clear the palette of my painter’s mind for the paint box of colour that will show up in this late arriving spring.
I offer a prayer of thanks
I stop to write in the gazebo
Moss lichen bark
Tiny patterned ferns
Marsh green shoots
Yellow polka dot buds
Small verdant mounds
Fill my eyes
Calls to the rasp
Of the gardener’s rake
Wind on my face
I look forward with courage again. I continue on the grey pebble path accompanied by the unseen sfumato of soon coming Valley Lilies.
Drops begin to fall but the exit is in sight.
“Be still and know that I am God.”
Book of Psalms
- “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