A good fortnight of clear skies and sunshine has just ended, and winter is back! Halcyon days, they were, but now they’re over. Today is going to be the coldest, or so they say. Already I’m hearing about snow on the outskirts of Nicosia, which doesn’t happen every day!
Thank god it’s Friday! Thank god for sketchbooks, too: this is a watercolour sketch, made from life many summers ago, on the island of Ios. This was the most amazing little break on an unexpectedly dazzling little Aegean island. Good friends, coffee and backgammon on the beach after dark, cross legged under a thatched awning. Food everywhere was spectacular, as I recall.
Sketchbooking is a practice I never stop trying to cultivate in my students. Not just because it provides an illustrated sort of diary full of vivid memories for a rainy day, but mainly because it is steady input into our visual data base. Observation and cultivating skills are the best way to stay creative and inspired.
It’s not because Thursdays are for throwbacks! Nor do I subscribe to some kind of Hashtag Nation agenda. Somedays, it’s just nice to find something one made years ago and not entirely hate it!
I’ve done #throwbackthursday before, I won’t deny it, though usually it was of a page in a moleskine, from a trip somewhere. An appropriate hashtag, because nostalgia! (A bit nerdy, but nostalgia nevertheless: “I went on holiday, and all I got to do was draw and paint in my sketchbook”.) This post is different, in that it is not place-specific, and not drawn from observation. It’s from 2-3 years ago, and was just something that came out of my head! So, I can’t really describe it, or say something about the place. Even though it’s more vivid to me than any actual place I’ve been to.
I can say that it is a sketch, that it is pencil and a little bit of coloured pencil on paper. Like a lot of my personal work, it is about memory, with imagined botanical structures and human anatomy used as a framework. It’s one of a series, actually, and someday it will be finalised and all on display. Just like I have it in my head.
So I’m greek, okay, and at New Year’s we make wishes, not resolutions. To my Anglo-American friends, you know I’ve tried the resolved way, but I have to be honest: my heart was never in it. Many new year’s eves ago I finally just had to quit. Wishes are no better, you may say. How is wishing, (so decidedly estranged from making so!) a better alternative to lapsed resolutions? Both are traditions of taking stock, of showing good intentions, and of positive (even magical) thinking, each in their own way. There are pros and cons to both: if the former is too fatalistic and dependent on a gamble (hey, so are my people…), the latter is too introverted and set up for failure. If a wish is more nurturing, awash with season’s sentiments and good cheer, a resolution is, at least, far more proactive and self-empowering. I get it, it’s not about who is better than. It’s about tastes.
As a new year begins, I resolve to wish to each and every one of my -actual and digital- friends out there:
Be evermore transformed by your reality
Feel evermore comfortable in your skin
Perceive experiences that will evermore refresh your outlook
While wishing each other well, we affirm these wishes for ourselves, so that we mindfully carry these thoughts into 2017. Luck, chance or fate may tamper with our plans, as well as with our wishfulness; not so with our mindfulness, the best kind of transformation! May we all have even more growth, acceptance and creativity, in all the days to come.