My early years in art school had me drawing daily as well as Saturdays and Sundays. I had discovered the magic elixir of the world. I was totally enmeshed and fascinated drawing everything I saw. With painstaking effort I learned how to create a three-dimensional drawing on a two-dimensional surface. The wastebasket was always filled with my crippled drawings. But, as tenacious as I was, I wouldn't quit until I achieved the drawing that satisfied me. 

Today I respect the ability to draw as the entrance into creativity. 

Several years after entering art school, I began studying with a Zen Master, Sueo Serisawa. He was an extraordinary painter and teacher.

For the first six months that I spent in his studio, he said, "Just paint, Natalie." I replied, "Just paint? No projects, no telling me what to do?" He said, "That's right."

Well, I schmeared, I splattered, I invented unheard of colors and I had a ball. Sixteen other students surrounded me. When we had a painting problem, we removed our painting from the easel, carried it into Sueo's inner sanctum, also known as, the Little Teaching Room. After placing the painting on the floor, we sat down next to Sueo on a couch and discussed the work and what could be done to correct it. 

 

serisawa painting
This work is by Serisawa. 

 

 One day in class I became very restless and requested to go to the ocean. I wanted to draw and paint. After three hours of sunshine, pounding waves, and becoming tired, I returned to class with my morning's work. Sueo sifted through it very quickly. He pulled out a very small pen and ink drawing and muttered, "Uh, huh. Uh, huh. This one is Zen."

My mouth fell open because it was the only drawing where, as I drew it, I became one with the ocean. And I was amazed that he knew. 

zenocean