Looking Large, Looking Small…


A few weeks ago a letter arrived from one of my lists about the art of “miksang” – looking at the small stuff for the beauty within. The photos were interesting, and I started giving this some thought. This past week for our anniversary we went to Sedona, and thence on a picnic to Sunset Crater with our friends. We were on a sketching/photographic journey.

Every time I’ve been to Sunset Crater I’ve wanted to sketch the trees. I absolutely love this place – there is such beauty in destruction – another Japanese concept called wabi-sabi. So this time I took my pad and pencils and just sat and started to sketch. Since we were limited in time, I knew I wanted to go fast, which meant the pencil was moving – no time to critique or rework anything.

I loved it. And at one point an Asian gentleman came to look over my shoulder, and I heard him say, “Ah, wabi-sabi.” I was thrilled – I was actually capturing the beauty of this particular trunk. I got a few sketches done – next time I need a camp chair with a mug holder for my pencils!

One thing, overall, that I noticed, was that, because of my vision, I tend to always look large – trying to take in the big picture. This worked really well at one of the turn-offs, where you had a canyon formed by lava. Great vistas. But then I started to really look small – several colors of lichens growing on the lava, shades of blacks and browns in the lava itself, and lots of bark. I have been absolutely fascinated with tree bark for years – who knows why? But I got some sketching and pictures done – lots to play with over the next few weeks.

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