The Somerset Place Guest Artist series continues as Christine Mason Miller shares her inspiring experience infusing poetry with art on the beach of Big Sur.
I am often asked what inspires me. Where do I look for inspiration, how do I find it? While my usual response is an explanation of how I am always receptive to things that might inspire me – whether it’s a rusty gate or a program on NPR, and therefore rarely “go looking” for inspiration – I do have a few especially inspiring treasures that I turn to again and again. One of those is Big Sur and another is the poetry of Hafiz. In February of 2011, the two came together in a most magical way, and has since become a tradition of sorts.
The idea is very simple. A close friend and I headed up to Big Sur for a weekend of rest, retreat and, yes, inspiration. I brought a large roll of plain white paper, big watercolor brushes, a bottle of ink and The Gift, which is book of poetry by the 13th century Persian poet Hafiz. We went to Pfeiffer State Beach, and with the waves crashing behind us, my friend and I each used the ink and brushes to write one of Hafiz’s poems in large, unruly script. We did this again just a few weeks ago while a group of dolphins played in the water just beyond the breaking waves.
This is an incredibly simple creative project that can be done anywhere – the beach, in a park, even on a sidewalk in your neighborhood. What is so fun about doing this in a public place is seeing the way onlookers react not only to the sight of creatives at work, but also to the poetry itself. In 2011, there was a small group of surfers not far from us on the beach who eventually wandered over to us, read the poems, bowed their heads and said, “thank you.” This year we had the pleasure of talking to a gentleman who, moved by the words of Hafiz, shared the work of another poet he loved, as well as his stories of seeing Bob Dylan in concert more than fifty times. The very quiet act of handwriting a poem on a large piece of paper with a brush and ink is enough to invite interesting conversations and also give anyone who happens to walk by a tiny gift of inspiration. It is a beautiful exchange created with the most mundane of materials – paper, ink, and a poem you love.
Where we live
Is no place to lose your wings
So love, love,
Materials List: Roll of plain white or Kraft paper, ink, watercolor brushes, rag, cup for water to clean brushes, poetry
Instructions: Choose a poem that inspires you; using your brush and ink, write it in on the paper in a public place; see the magic unfold!
Thank you for sharing, Christine! Christine Mason Miller is a Santa Monica-based writer and mixed-media artist. Her latest book – Desire to Inspire: Using Creative Passion to Transform the World – is available at Amazon.com and at bookstores everywhere. Visit her at www.christinemasonmiller.com.
Posted: Thursday, March 29th, 2012 @ 9:11 am
Tags: Beach, Christine Mason Miller, Guest Artist, Inspiration.
Subscribe to the comments feed if you like. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.