Sunday, December 13, 2015

Learning by Doing

Rebecca and I spent a lovely evening – a wonderful day, actually, but the morning had been filled with hard work. 

She has some articles to finish, a few ideas she wants to begin and some classes to teach.

All require preparation of one sort or another and I have been typing for her. My goal is to see if she can talk while I do 9 single spaced pages of typing. She thinks that my font is small or my margins too narrow when it feels like the pages aren’t going fast enough. But no, I quietly type, and let spell check and grammar check do their work when my fingers can’t keep up with her words.

By the end of the night we were both tired – wanting to press on, but neither of us could find energy to work at the speed we had been operating during the morning and afternoon hours. I opened one of her new art books and she opened another. We took out some paper and coloured pens and tried to re-create the images in the book. We chatted -- and let our pens work. I became more and more engaged in creative work that I don’t usually do. Art. I do go to museums and read art books, but I never pick up a pencil and try to imitate life with lines. Examples of bird’s ears and eyes, animal teeth, fur, fish scales – though it seems obvious I had never been able to tell which of the animals was a beaver until I saw how those two front teeth were drawn.

Part of the evening was that I didn’t have a pace that I had to keep, nor anyone making comments or even watching. I worked and reworked images through the evening hours, commenting to Rebecca how restful the time felt.

Duncan did come by and watching us, picked up a pen himself.

He didn’t sit down but kneeling by the table he quickly crafted a porpoise, Northwest Coast Style.

And then he returned to his electronic games. I was left seeing his image – deftly crafted with more skill than I had shown.

A beginner’s start for me … and Rebecca had purchased three books, so there is plenty of material for me to work from.

Wyona told me she has been watching u-tube videos on how to paint with water colours. She comments that there is so much on utube for a person to learn. I feel the same way about the lovely books – so many evenings ahead for me to enjoy.



  1. I am looking for things to do that are restful. Thanks for the idea. I had found doing pottery very restful until I did it so many hours and so many nights a week that I was not getting enough rest to be alert for work or a walk on my breaks at work.

    I will give the drawing a try. I hope it doesn't get as addictive as throwing a pot on the wheel.

  2. You are the one who made me think that I should see if I could do some stick figures as a start. You would set out a list of things for David to do, but instead of using words you would draw pictures for him.

    So when I went back to Calgary I went to the public library and borrowed all of the books in the small community library by our house, that had to do with drawing stick figures -- people and animals. I practised for many nights so that i could just pick up a pencil and draw with the same skill you can.

    Was this restful to me?

    No. I was driven to do better, to do more, to get a skill that looked like it was just natural to me. That is when I noticed that Greg is also good with a pen -- he can quickly sketch something that has both perspective and form. I studied what he was doing carefully, and then I remembered that when we went back to a Crescent Heights High School reunion, one of the things he wanted to do was to go back and see the art room. I had never gone to the art room in high school. My options were taken up with French, Latin, and in a burst of speed, I took Home Ec for 3 semesters -- but that was an imperative from my dad to learn to sew. I wonder now what I might have taken just for the fun of it.
    But then, taking something for fun, and having it be restful are two separate things. Keep me posted on how you do. Wyona has been watching videos on how to do water-colours and she gets her paints out, but watches the videos so long that she doesn't get to the painting. Well, that is good too.