This morning we had the rare pleasure of enjoying an astronomical event. Often these things happen at inconvenient times or the weather is unfavorable but this time we were able to just step out the door and observe. I was surprised that I had to keep moving the tripod to the left. I was expecting the moon to go downwards but not sideways. I know why, I just wasn’t expecting that. I was talking to the camera as I don’t know how to get it to see what I see, to focus where I want it to focus. I said, yes, the moon, I want to take a picture of the moon. It is now too far below the horizon for us to see it uncover. So here is the eclipse as we saw it, with our trees and the chicken house roof.
We had a guest artist at our painting club who devised a fun project for the 10 of us. She cut an image in 10 pieces and handed them out to us randomly. We then each reproduced the best we could the part we were given, all using an A3 format and the medium of our choice.
Here you can see my reference and the first washes. I tried to get the proportions right and watch the lines extending beyond the edges that would be sure to meet with another’s work. I kept in mind that the others would have stronger colour than I often use.
What looked like a crab to me turned out to be the handlebars of a scooter.
In addition to my weekly lesson in Arabic, last week I had the privilege of attending an afternoon workshop in calligraphy. I pretty well know the alphabet now, but it is rather laborious. I see the letter ب and I think now that is one of those underliny ones, the dot is underneath, it’s………….B!
I know if I see
I can figure out that the word is bab and means door, but when I see
I do not automatically see
in my mind.
Here is the paper I dirtied while practicing, using a qalam (pen made from bamboo) and India ink.
The teacher’s stroke so was so well controlled. I could not get the fine line like he could. He showed us how he does a coloured background, using a wide flat brush, dipped in several colours of ink. The top one is my writing on one of his backgrounds, the bottom one was done entirely by me except that the teacher loaded the brush.
We wrote words such as light, love, peace, dream, confidence, that he had us pull out of a little basket, like fortune cookies.
Learning Arabic, as I may have previously mentioned, takes me back to before I learned to read, before a sound became visualized by the letters of the alphabet I usually use. It’s not easy. There seem to be layers and layers to scratch back and replace (not replace exactly, but add). Penitence is somehow related to this, trying to erase layers of what we call human nature—desires to dominate, cheat, put down the other person, be greedy and lazy, well, I will stop the list—and rewrite myself as loving, forgiving, pure (not sure I should even write this one, it is so far from reality). I rather doubt I will be able to speak and write Arabic like one who was born and schooled in that language, just as I doubt I can become perfect, but I will keep trying, putting one foot in front of the other.
Bursting into joyous song in splendid harmony, then back to lunch.
“…I understood that evil would not been conquered by sacraments or the law, but in man’s heart and first of all in my heart. My penitence then became stronger and stronger, deeper and deeper, because I had at last taken it that there was only one human heart and my own heart would be just a molecule of it….”