…discovery is creative….
- Michael Polanyi

As she sits, she stares. It is as if she is seeking to look into the depths of his soul. With pencil in her left hand and a drawing pad lightly gripped by her right hand, resting across her forearm, she sketches.

Her sketch is a very rough sketch of varying shapes running into each other. Anyone else looking at her work would have no idea who it is emerging on that pad. The sketch is not the man yet. She is absorbing who the man is.

What he looks like is evident. Who he is in his deepest self is not so obvious. So, she sits. She stares. She listens. She asks questions. She listens. She intuits. She sketches. She absorbs. She waits. She waits to hear and see in her deepest self what his portrait should be. Her work here and now is less about the sketch and more about time finding the person.

A great artist, whether painter, composer, sculptor, chef, or writer must be inspired. The power of the art is found in the spirit of the artwork. The best of art is not really thought into being. Art is waited into being. This is particularly true for the portrait artist. The human being is not just a visible mass of flesh to be captured on paper, canvas, stone, or clay. Being has a story to be captured.

The stories that have formed your being are yours. They have sculpted who you are. You remember many of those stories from over the years. Some of them you have forgotten. Probably more than you realize. Yet others, you wish you could forget. All of those stories are strokes that have painted your being as you are right now.

What if you cultivated the ability to sit as a portrait-artist with yourself? With journal or pad of paper in hand, you begin to sketch strokes of individual words and short phrases. Nothing forced, only what emerges as you sit listening, looking, sensing what is there, who is there. You are there, somewhere. Just sit patiently.

Photo by Ashley West Edwards on Unsplash
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