332: Drawing Courage (O’Keeffe)

                “To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

                One of my friends draws. She makes it look like magic. A few weeks ago I watched her coax a few drops of water from the cap of her water bottle onto the page, and then dip her pen into those drops, pulling them out into a beautiful watery flower. She told me today, “That was just because the pen was dry.” I’m not sure I believe her. It was because her pen was dry, and she had a water bottle, and she knew (or wondered) how the color and water would mix.
                We’re in class together, so I’ve gotten to see her draw almost every week since August. A few months ago I started following along. When she took out her pencils or crayons or pens, she’d put them between us. I’d watch the ways she played with lines, patterns, colors. A few years ago I tried to practice drawing once a week. I picked an object, a bike, a teddy bear, and tried to sketch it. Other than that I haven’t drawn a lot since I was a kid. Following along with my friend, there wasn’t as much practice, if that means concerted effort toward a goal. There was more of a practice, a dipping of the pen’s tip into the water. A pulling, week after week, of colors across the page. It’s not that I didn’t struggle and get confused. I did. But there was a heartbeat to the work. Like each question was a breath, and as I worked next to her, breathing in led to breathing out led to breathing in again. That reminds me that courage is connected to heart. That inspiration is connected to breath, simple breaths above a page while we talk and draw.

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