“You can’t draw animals from life!” -Unnamed student
“I didn’t get that memo.” -Roz Stendahl
Roz is passionate, skilled, feisty, and articulate. Our Saturday session with her was full of earned wisdom, concrete suggestions, detailed information, anecdotal experiences, wonder and laughter. We also heard a refrain throughout: “Start journaling now. Today. Don’t wait.”
It did not feel like a two-hour presentation. More like twenty minutes. Roz started observing and drawing when she was 3 1/2 years old and has not stopped. Despite that long history, she explained that committing to a year-long project in her adult years—one drawing per day of her dog for one year—provided her more growth in skill and creative philosophy than any of her more traditional studies. So she extended her commitment for several years, until the day her beloved dog died. Roz often gives herself specific projects of this kind to encourage her own creative growth.
Her three-page handout was excellent and will be on the Colleagues website for reference. Taking time to read this is well worth it for anyone who could not attend her session. The handout contains some theory, information on tools and papers, and ways to contact Roz for classes and other reasons. Her blog, with even more information to read and learn, is as follows: RozWoundUp.com. She is extremely generous sharing her passion and knowledge.
I did not find her a linear speaker. Roz had much she wanted to share and went on a few tangents trying to make sure participants would not miss something they might want. Lists of places where she finds inspiration. Lists of places she believes any creative person can find inspiration. And more. Here’s one example of inspirational viewing: Wall Dog Museum (sign painting), old advertising, State Fair, Society of Guilders, Museum of Marine Biology (Winona), Antique Malls, Como Zoo and the Bell Museum.
There was one mantra I particularly liked; it popped up over and over as she spoke. “Play. Play. Play.” Observe and play and practice; let the work be what it is, good or bad or half-finished. Silence the internal critic. Roz is deeply serious about silencing the internal critic.
Roz said there were three things she wanted us to take away from her presentation. However, she would go off on a tangent and I would lose track of what, out of all the important things the was saying, was the most important. But here is my take on her three things, right or wrong:
1. Start journaling now
2. Practice/play daily (even if only for a few minutes)
3. Embrace mess (creation is messy)
And I will add another—her words—that was a fourth take away for me.
4. There is no perfect paint, paper, ink, pencil, pen, nib, etc.—experiment and find out what works for you.
Roz offered so many good nuggets of information based on experience, along with anecdotes about her personal path, that I found it hard to integrate it all in one session. It was rather like going to a museum and trying to take in the all the exhibits at once instead of one small section. I will sum up with a list from one of the short lumps of notes I took and circled and starred. These notes came immediately after the following (paraphrased) sentence:
“It takes 28 days of repeating an action to make it a habit.”
1. Start now
2. Observe life
3. Be in the moment
4. Stop worrying about being profound
5. #4 leads to creating heart-felt sketches
6. Repeat daily
Instead of going in for a fall flu shot, we got a shot of Roz. A wonderful buzz of ideas, passion, examples, motivation for moving forward, common sense steps to take to infuse our creative life with more energy, playful experiments, and skill. I already know attending this session will be my favorite holiday present for 2017.
Demo Corner with Aleksandra Streeter
A huge thank you to Aleksandra for demonstrating the Cyrillic alphabet in the Demo Corner!