Being Present

June 16, 2017
9 x 12 inch sheet of recycled watercolor paper with a quick ink sketch (dried out pen) from imagination. I was thinking about portrait composition with people and animals. Notice the Ken Burn quotation that I later added at the top of the page when I needed a scrap of paper.

I’ve been organizing my files and clearing up the studio so I can move on to new projects.

I found this loose journal page in the TV room on a stack of books. I also read in that room early in the morning while Dick is upstairs reading his newspaper and having his coffee before work—I hate the smell of coffee.

The drawing is a sketch from my imagination. I didn’t write anything on the page to remember any specifics, I just wanted to pick up the pen and sketch something.

I wonder what Freud would make of the fact that when I draw from my imagination I draw a portrait of him with a dog peeking over his shoulder?

I didn’t work long on the sketch. The pen was dying and all dried out. I just wanted to get some shapes down, and some idea about animals and people in portraits together. It’s really just a giant (9 x 12 inch) thumbnail sketch.

But I set it on the side table and later that week there was some documentary I was watching on TV. They were interviewing Ken Burns. He’s the rather prolific historical documentarian (Louis and Clark, Mark Twain,The National Parks, Baseball, The Civil War I can’t remember all the things he’s done documentaries on). He’s the director famous for collecting still photos into a documentary, and then panning through those still images to create a sense of movement and focus. If you use Final Cut Pro to edit your videos the cropping effect that pans is actually called “Ken Burns Effect.”

During the interview he made the comment I scribbled across the top of the page.

Prepared is one thing but being present is even more important. Ken Burns

Many times on my blog I have made a point about being prepared, doing your daily practice, and being ready for the muse to show up. But Burns makes a good point. It’s important to be present. I believe that if you are doing your daily practice and showing up you are being present.

And I think when you are present a whole lot of meaty ideas, and interesting observations, and authentic work can come out of you.

Ken Burns has made his career about being present for each of his dives into subject matter that captured his interest.

This weekend think about how you show up. How are you present in your life?

This weekend really listen and look. What’s the next project for you? 

Don’t worry if you only have an inkling of an idea. Write down what your inklings.  Keep paying attention to the ideas that come to you as you sketch and work this weekend. Sketch out your ideas too in thumbnails if that feels like a useful way to get things down.

Later next week get your sheet of ideas out and see which one you can start on. Don’t think of this as your one chance to make a perfect series or project, just think of it as something you can show up for now. Get something done. Something you can build on.



    • mary
    • June 16, 2017

    Thanks, Roz-
    This post is most helpful! I am also beginning to organize and clear out- and finding it quite daunting. What an enjoyable sketch………that prompts the question- who knew more Freud or the dog?

    1. Reply

      organizing and clearing out can always be daunting. Take it in small chunks. Get up and clear off one area etc. You can do it!

    • Mimi
    • June 16, 2017

    Roz, I love the new website and the fact that people with aging eyes can actually read it!

    1. Reply

      YAY! I’m so glad! Thanks for stopping by.

    • SusanA
    • June 17, 2017

    Roz, my first thought about your sketch was “great photo bomb!” Made me smile. 🙂

    I struggle with being present in my own life. Most days, I feel more present in other people’s lives than in my own. Thanks for the gentle reminder to show up for myself too.

      • SusanA
      • June 17, 2017

      I probably should have said, “…present FOR other people’s lives than FOR my own.” That’s more in the spirit of what I meant.

    1. Reply

      I didn’t think about that, it is like a photo bomb isn’t it!!!! Now I have an idea for another series!!!!!

      I’m glad this post could remind you to stay present in your own life for yourself! It’s important. We really can only do our own lives. When we use our energy to be present for others we all lose. So keep reminding yourself to show up for yourself. And to get some sketching done!!!

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