CULTIVATING ARTS AND MINDS
The Drawn Line
The Drawn Line
We explored the Drawn Line in a messy, capacious art studio: a warren of colourful teacher-training rooms overflowing with paper, paint, crayons, pastels, pencils, pens, scissors, glue, and just about every other art-making material that a creative child (or envious adult) could dream of. Moving through a carefully choreographed sequence of activities, we practised "letting go" of our inhibitions, our doubts, our fears: drawing with our eyes closed, freewriting first impressions, filling in shapes, crafting poems, sharing words and ideas, drawing again, writing again, and at last reflecting on what we had learned about ourselves as artist✼academics. Artist A's multimedia exhibit draws us into a magical world of fiery dragons and rumbling volcanoes, through a looping series of ever more intensive reflections, and finally over the edge of the paper into the unknown lands that lie beyond.
Keywords: dragon, magic, protect, worship, kingdom of my imagination
The “Dragon of Language” exercise got me thinking about the magic of dragons and how they are both feared and worshipped. They are guardians and protectors, and they are destroyers and decimators of land, depending on its rider. As an artist✼academic I ride the institutional dragon of the university. I decide what to set fire to, protect, fly over or terrorise. I want to wreak havoc most of all on my self-limiting beliefs, the tightly closed narrowly defined villages of what my work should be and do (or not do). I want to protect the Kingdom of my Imagination and that of fellow believers.
The artist✼academic dragon’s
magic lies in its
scales of luminescent curiosity
tongues of fire-breaking adversity
iron claws of bravery
diamond eyes of instinctive creativity.
The dragon feeds on our worship
and reigns in the Kingdom of Imagination.
But for it to protect us
we must protect it
from the sorcerer of self-limiting beliefs
the tightly clad villagers
of the closed mind
the Army of the One Way
I see a volcano emptying into the left brain.
I hear the rumbling lava change, the waves surging onto the rock base of the island.
I sense explosive possibility.
I imagine change.
I catch fire and water.
Scales shimmering with luminescent curiosity, impenetrable bravery, hard work and tenacity.
I am an Artist-Academic
I see a tectonic shift at the base level of our ideas
of what and how scholarship can be in the world.
Molten lava of heart bubbles at the brim of the caldera.
I hear rumbling voices of dissent as they attempt to quell the rising tide
of lava-led heart-centred research.
I sense inner explosions in the bodies of many
as they cool off, solidify and form a standing place.
I imagine new lands, black volcanic rock,
green shoots sprouting up, through and around.
Obsidian work. I catch the knowing.
Keywords: loose / flowing / energetic / tactile / feeling-led / instinctive
What does “letting go” mean to me as a researcher, artist and academic? Dragon means falling forward into my instinctive way of being led by line and moving on the page by being in the body. Letting go brings its own flowing energy. My lines are loose, at times tentative about crossing over the borders, until I realise the borders are in my imagination. That my feeling-led drawings create their own borders. Letting go means climbing out of thought and into feeling. It means getting tactile with stories I want to tell. It means knowing the terrain I want to explore but not holding too strictly to where I think the edge of the paper lies. And sometimes, it means discovering the edge then drawing over it anyway.
Icebreaker (3 mins)
A movement, a gesture or a sound from one activity which you enjoyed last week.
Arts-making Activity #1 – 'Let go' (30 mins)
- Using your non-dominant hand, draw continuous lines reflecting the movement you just thought of. You can change colour when you start a new continuous line. (3 mins).
- Write down 3 words to describe the drawing process. (2 min)
- Now we repeat the drawing activity on another piece of paper, but this time using your dominant hand, and closing your eyes. Repeat, moving with the lines. You can change colour when you start a new continuous line. (3 mins)
- Write down another 3 words to describe the process for you. (2 min)
- Using the 6 words, freewrite: What does “let go” mean to you as a researcher/artist/academic? (10 mins)
- Sharing (10 mins)
Arts-making activity #2 – 'Capture' (40 mins)
- Looking at one of your drawings (turning the drawing around, viewing from the back, using your phone camera), zoom in and zoom out to see what kind of shapes, objects or something else you can find. If you find shapes, objects or something else in the drawing, use the art materials to develop an artwork from them. (10 mins)
- Have a conversation with the shapes, objects or something else.
- Freewriting: I see… I hear… I sense… I catch… I imagine… (5 mins)
- Use these senses, images and metaphors to write a poem or short prose piece in response to the following prompt:
“I am an artist✼academic, I see… I hear… I sense… I catch… I imagine…” (10 mins)
- Sharing (10 mins)
Arts-making activity #3 – 'Collaboration' (40 mins)
- Leave the other line drawing on a table; walk around the room; identify shapes, objects or something else in someone else’s drawing, and write/draw a note about this, but not on their drawing, and leave it with the drawing. (5 mins)
- Develop an artwork from other people’s suggestion/s (10 mins)
- Now, use freewriting to describe the process, especially focusing on how other’s suggestion/s impacted you in the creative process. Choose 6 key words from the freewriting. (10 mins)
- Create a short poem entitled An artistic✼academic in other’s eyes (10 mins)