Sherry Wiggins, Meditation Drawings, graphite and red pencil on paper, eighteen drawings each 10″ x 12″ framed, 1999
I am thinking about drawing practices again, my own as well as my pantheon of women drawers listed in my recent blog. This set of drawings I call Meditation Drawings. I drew them in 1999 while I was taking a class with sculptor James Surls at Anderson Ranch. The class was called “A Search for Self.” I was in a funny place in my art life – tired of the constraints of large-scale installation and public art that I had been involved with. James is a wonderful artist and a generous and inspiring teacher. I just didn’t really want to make sculpture, he supported me in developing a drawing practice.
I found the well known book “Tantra Art” by Ajit Mookerjee in the library at Anderson Ranch. There is a meditation practice described in the book that broadly outlines a visualization practice. At the time I was not a practicing Buddhist and had little training in this. I also found in the book some ancient devotional text alluding to the Great Goddess Chandi Devi. I took 20 words from this prayer to the Goddess (in Hindu and Buddhist traditions there are many devotional practices to many Goddesses).
The words are – Consciousness Reason Sleep Hunger Shadow Energy Thirst Forgiveness Species Bashfulness Peace Faith Loveliness Fortune Vocation Memory Compassion Fulfillment Mother Illusion
I initiated my own meditation and visualization practice utilizing the instructions and these 20 words from the “Tantra Art” book. Following are some of the individual drawings. They are all either 8” x 8” or 8” x 10”. They are just graphite and some red pencil on paper. I later matted them and framed them in frames that are 10 x 12 as pictured above. This practice was transformational for me – a new way to articulate outer and inner worlds.
I am reviewing these rituals and exercises and drawings of eighteen years ago because I think it might be the best drawing practice I have ever done, conceptually and materially. There is a simplicity to the idea and the carry through.