"Mistakes are simply the proof that you are trying" - A Tao Proverb
I have always been drawn to the sharp and strikingly strong visual contrast between black and white. I love to work loosely in pen and ink on a pristine and absolutely white sheet of paper. I find the exercise exhilarating and challenging. Sketching without guideline... working always on the edge of making irretrievable errors lifts one into a higher plane of awareness. In my own mind, such drawings are true exemplars of the Yin and Yang duality of life. They speak a pure language without a need for colour to either add to or take away from the visual experience.
Last Saturday, I spent the afternoon sketching and rediscovering the quaint rural village of Delta... while Deb took part in a conference with her Frontenac Arch Biosphere group . It had been nearly two decades since I had last been to this village. Obviously, many changes had taken place. Some, as is the usual case were positive... while others showed the passage and erosion of time. Some resident buildings had completely disappeared.
The centre piece of this village, and almost every other early rural village in Ontario is a mill. Most were flour and feed, or grist mills for grinding grains. They formed the core for, or were the hub of the development of the economy of these small and often isolated farm communities. They attracted other businesses like hotels and mercantile stores and as well also encouraged institutions like banks and schools to be added. Such was the case for early life in Delta. As in all small rural settings however, when milling evolved into big business it was done in urban centres like Toronto, displacing small mills and thereby bankrupting growth in these smaller communities. Mills gradually became derelict and many reduced to just ruins. That was not the case in Delta.
In 1963, A group of trustees took charge of the mill and managed to raise funds through grants to completely restore the mill. That group is now called The delta Mill Society. They had the site site declared a National Heritage Site and have just celebrated their 50th Anniversary as a fully working mill. Each summer, the mill becomes an active interpretive centre for tourists, with local citizenry acting as guides and providing interpretive activities. The mill even grinding wheat on the original 200 year old grindstones. It is the centre of village festivities for The annual Delta Maple Syrup Festival and the annual Fall Delta Fair. Here is my "yin and yang" tribute sketch completed on site last Saturday.
"A Stepping Stone Back Into Time"
Strange... how the mind separates one from reality when one is fully engaged in "The Flow." The time fairly seemed to melt away as I played around the area of this sketch. Now finished... I can truthfully say that I can't remember where I began the process. I can say that I didn't work top to bottom, but rather played over the entire surface at will... making changes as I felt them. I added the border afterward, so that it is clear that the actual page was considered... rather than a predetermiend rectangular space which is my usual painting preference.
I like the loose and fanciful feel that is present and the weight of the darks used to accentuate certain areas. It would make a great wood cut or lino subject.... but that's a story for another day. It's in the sketchbook... and thus the possibility for that to occur ... somewhere down the road on this wonderful journey.
In my reading, I came across this wee gem of wisdom from an unknown wise one which I feel describes my own yin and yang voyage.
I am on a journey
With my work,
And a few sad stories.
I travel with a suitcase full of outrageous blessings.
I am on a quest for Truth, Beauty and a Quiet Joy.
I am an Artist, a writer and an Explorer.
.... as are "You"
Rich Blessings and Good Sketching and Painting to ALL!!
Stay tuned for Part Two....