Tao Te Ching – Fifteen

The ancient masters were subtle, mysterious, profound, responsive.

The depth of their knowledge is unfathomable.

Because it is unfathomable,

All we can do is describe their appearance.

Watchfull like men crossing a winter stream.

Alert, like men aware of danger

Courteous, like visiting guests.

Yielding, like ice about to melt.

Simple, like uncarved blocks of wood.

Hollow, like caves.

Opaque, like muddy pools.

Who can wait quietly while the mud settles?

Who can remain still until the moment of action?

Observers of the Tao do not seek fulfilment.

Not seeking fulfilment, they are not swayed by desire for change.

LAO TSU

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‘Who can wait quietly while the mud settles. Who can remain still until the moment of action?’ Lao Tsu

Find poise. Poise before action. Calm before the event. Preparation to move forward with ease by coming from the still point. Wait quietly in this time of Covid.

Good idea!

Patience. One step at a time: keep planning the mural. It doesn’t have to be that ideas are formed today, this is a process. A challenging one.

Thumbnails of birds, quietly and quickly drawing by the kitchen door. Committing not to invent lines but to simply observe and move on, looking for the essence of form. Looking for bird characters to imprint on my mind, potential candidates for the wall. Seeking fluency. Woodpeckers, robins, a blackbird, sparrows, tits. Then the crows arrived.

It’s surprisingly tiring to draw like this.

Later a quick stream of consciousness sketch. Ten minutes. Allowing the pencil to flow without thinking about where it’s going. No need for completion or good drawing. Shapes becoming form. Owls appeared.

Later I got muddied. Felt overwhelmed again by the wall. ‘I can’t do it! I don’t know what to do that will look good! I’ll mess it up!’

I walked and spoke to a friend. She laughed out loud, hooting with mirth when I said I didn’t think I was capable. Thank you Woody, it helped!

I returned refreshed, thinking ‘just keep drawing birds.’ Birds for Valentine’s day. A lovely task for the day. Tweet, tweet, twit t’whoo!

Bird cartoons started to appear. Fluency allowing fluidity.

Evening, an idea for a 3d element: planters at wheelchair level, with birds (or other characters) painted underneath. Flowers, becoming hair or plumage. Small sensory gardens. Something for the children to observe growing throughout the year and hopefully be able to engage with. A detail in a bigger picture.

A quick scruffy maquette made with a toilet roll and a couple of scraps of card. It took all day to hatch an idea to develop for the children. I love that the birds brought flowers on Valentines day and true to the verse, the snow began to melt.

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Having fun now…
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