Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WIP - {me}

I am a part of an art group that meets weekly. I came very close to studying art a couple times in my life, but beyond a deep appreciation for beauty and those who create it, I haven't done much to cultivate creating myself since I was a teenager.

Or at least that is what I used to think. Until I remembered how for my first married birthday I asked for charcoal and a figure drawing book and took myself off to the cathedral in Lausanne to be alone and draw - only to end up on the steps in the sunlight quietly sketching nothing much, but so loving the feel of the soot on my hands and the reverence of just enjoyment.

Or the writing class I went to when I was scared spitless and had hardly any brain matter left from sleep deprivation and babies (let alone any words grown-ups used that I could easily recall.) Or the oil painting class I struck out and bravely took (and left in tears more than once) when I had two toddlers at home and was starved for creativity. Or the running coach I worked with when I was by far the slowest and most intimidated person on the track. (Really.)

I knew somewhere in me that art and running and writing were all connected. I just couldn't exactly explain how if you'd asked me.

Slowly - over the years - I began to notice more and more how much my body and creating were linked. I imagine that should not actually be a revelation considering how much of life stems from our bodies to begin with, but to me it was (and still is) just that: a revelation.

The voice deep within our body is directly, directly connected to the voice that gives birth to beauty through our very own hands, mouth, eyes and words.

There is so much more I want to write about this - how my relationship to myself, my physical self, has opened up a whole new depth of understanding truth and intuition, courage and choice. And how that is unlocked or cultivated, what a process of creation is like and how it can be something I take responsibility for. How it really, really isn't the end goal but the journey of listening that is so alive and vital in making art.

All of that is profound and new to me. I am learning so much. And I have one new, little step I want to share here.

Our art group went to a figure drawing class this week. And we found out days before that the model would be nine months pregnant. When I heard that I actually teared up. It seemed so right with all I have been learning.

I was not at all sure what to expect but I had determined ahead of time that if I did only one thing it would be to enjoy the process. I have never been (in my estimation) good at figure drawing, but I love it and I wanted that to be what I focused on. I also knew what I wanted to use to draw based on how it felt to my fingers and I knew I wanted to use a lot of colour.

So I was listening (new for me) but I was not at all sure I wouldn't feel mortified by the outcome. And I decided (sincerely) not to care. It took my husband's response for me to think maybe it was okay to share what I did. (There will be - drawn - nudity if you prefer not to see it. )

I really enjoyed it and loved being with the friends I was with.

This is a figure sketch I did in 2004.


These are the sketches I did this week.















24 comments:

BettyDuffy said...

I love how your work has changed over the years. It really is beautiful.

I, too have often thought about the connection between writing, drawing and running. Those have been the mainstays of my life. I love how you've put it here.

Jennifer Jo said...

Misha! This is gorgeous! I want to see more!

Brian Miller said...

wow. love your art...you have come far and found your own artistic voice it seems...good job listening to the one inside you...

Andi Mae said...

Oh, Misha! You are so talented! I just love seeing how your style + your voice + your art have evolved over the years. And I have always been so impressed by how you have made the time for it- even in the midst of the busy craziness of raising young children + even when your heart lacked the confidence. Thank you so much for sharing!
xo

P.S. I really really miss you!

Brandee Shafer said...

I really enjoyed this post and reading a little about your journey.

Kari said...

LOOOOOOOOOVE. still. You are amazing.

Joybird said...

Those sketches are so alive. Much of my art experience uses my body as the tool (acting, dancing, singing) and I have struggled with a deep disconnect between my body and my mind. Confronting this gap and its roots was the birthplace of a lot of healing for me. Like you, I don't really get the connection but I know it's there. I look forward to hearing how it all unravels for you. Also love your header and blog name!

David N. said...

I love your connection between art and running. It isn't always fun, sometimes it hurts, sometimes it's exhausting...but in the end, it's rewarding.

corli said...

These are really fab - expressive. We are so disconnected from our bodies in the West - we are shielded from nature and the elements, we have drugs for every ache, we don't do much physical work, death and birth are routinely medicated, hopitalised events., there is the whole virtual/internet world. Keep running and arting! Inspiring, thanks!

svea said...

Oh my gosh!!!!!!! these are stunning, fabulous, vibrant and expressive. You are so gifted my friend and I love seeing the color, it is like seeing you. i want to see more. Big love toyou!

Kati patrianoceu said...

I think the lesson is working - I can really see the emotion of the body in your sketches. As I read this, I also thought about dancing. I think maybe this is why David danced before the Lord - it is so utterly physical and it's creative at the same time.

Misha Leigh. said...

David N - yes, exactly. And there is something about repititive movement (like running... or as my friend says, even weeding) that puts us in a space to listen at another level to what is not as easily heard when we ignore our bodies.

To everyone else: thank you for the feedback. It helps make me brave!


I will try to post more...

LauraX said...

such bold and beautiful drawings...you are indeed opening you your creative well in a powerful way! Thank you so much for sharing your gorgeous drawings and you story of awakening to Source through your body!

LauraX said...

Happy birthday!!! I will be 46 next week! Be as present as possible to each moment...they go by so fast.

emily wierenga said...

oh misha... this was complete revelation for me too. i want to know more. can you tell me more? would you be willing to write a guest post for my eating disorder blog, on what you've learned about the relationship between art and body? (you can email me with your thoughts, if you want...) btw, your art is STUNNING... my favorite is the one in blue. completely mesmerizing. don't stop. you have such a gift.

(and happy birthday, beautiful... i hope it is amazing...)

Misha Leigh. said...

Emily - I will get back to you - that sounds exciting!

Thank you for the birthday wishes but mine isn't until August. : ) My son's is in a couple weeks, though - he is turning 8!

Anonymous said...

mish, im proud of you. stunning.
Seany

Helena said...

Misha, these are beautiful. The colours are extraordinary. I loved what you wrote about the journey of listening. Yes, Yes, Yes! Thank you so much for your words and for these gorgeous images.

Tilly said...

L.O.V.E.

Cathy said...

Beautiful, evocative.

deb colarossi said...

All of this completely takes my breath away.


And a pregnant woman's body is holy beauty.

Anonymous said...

My,oh my....this is to be celebrated! Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable....the greatest test for an artist. xo

Jessica said...

I read this a few days ago and kept meaning to come back and tell you how much I love it! Your words and art both! You've inspired me to begin looking for a drawing class- I have so missed it!

Kamille@redeemingthetable.com said...

misha--I feel like I understand your correlation with the physical and creative. It's something I'm discovering about myself these past couple months; but, it's been blooming more & more within the month of March.

I'm so glad that you are finding the correlation between these two worlds within your world. And your drawings are wonderful. I love the use of bold colors and sharp edges.