At the sidelines of muddy baseball field...
At the sidelines of muddy baseball field, I overheard a man boast lovingly about his wife’s artistic skill and teaching ability. My ears perked up because I was looking for someone to teach color theory at Brushstrokes. I inserted myself into the conversation and found out more about Kim Bennett, who did in fact go on to teach a series of classes at Brushstrokes: color theory (Joseph Albers), painting composition (Bauhaus), and, most recently, “The Art of the Art Assignment.” Starting this month, she has been teaching Botanical Painting and Drawing on Wednesday mornings. We all convene in our upstairs studio with arms full of foraged branches and flowers. We cover the tables with butcher paper or delicate sheets of watercolor paper. We make pots of tea and listen to Andrew Bird.
And we recite poetry. Kim and I share a passion for poetry and, in particular, Gerard Manley Hopkins who used drawing from nature as a way to inspire his poetry and deepen his understanding of creation and the Creator.
I’ve been trying to memorize as many of these poems as I can. I can think of few things better than to have these words looping around my brain while I meditate on the beauty of a magnolia branch I’m drawing or painting (or while I’m unloading the dishwasher for that matter).
"Glory be to God for dappled things —
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced — fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change;