Vancouver Draw-Down

June 20, 2015

I attended my first “Drawdown” event in the afternoon and I was so glad I overcame my desire to do nothing and walked over to 3rd Beach to learn how to draw circles from Instant Coffee, the collective that has been awarded a residency there in the Fieldhouse behind and above the concession stand.  I wanted to meet some other artists from the Fieldhouse program, because I am a storyteller on the Board of the Vancouver Society of Storytelling and I am also a curious person.

I got there hungry and had to go get a hot dog before introducing myself.  As I walked by, I saw 5 or 6 people, surrounded by tables, pots and brushes, on the grass in the sun.  When I came back it was down to 3, but they were welcoming.  Two people were part of the Instant Coffee (Gin, a phonetic rendition of his name only, sorry Gin!) and Jill, who was cleaning up.  The third person had come along to make circles.  She was amazing.  She was using a long, thin still green and therefore springy twig.  She would dip the point, maybe 20 inches from her hand, and very small, into the black ink, and draw a perfect circle on the coloured paper, over and over again.  When anyone said how impressed they were, she demurred saying that she could “only” do them ½ at a time.  An irrelevance to my eye, as she was so graceful, so in control of her wily instrument without choking up on it, that the two halves joined with precision not once but many times.  She filled up her page with circles made magical because we’d seen how she did it.

I got a quick lesson in drawing the ellipsis made when you look at a circle, say the rim of a glass, from the side.  Then I offered to tell a story while these good folk were drawing.  It was the Ebony Horse, attributed by some to be in the 1001 Arabian Nights.  I made a mistake somewhere in the middle, but we managed to have a good time even with that.

Then it was getting a bit cooler, the woman with the twig for making circles had to go, I tried my hand briefly at making circles myself and came up with a recognizable if wobbly fat circle, reminiscent of Japanese painting, in the way that a hot dog is reminiscent of steak.

I enjoyed meeting fellow Fieldhouse residents, and hearing how they have made use of their space.  I enjoyed swapping a story for hearing about ellipses.

Melanie Ray,

Vancouver Society of Storytelling

Slocan Park Fieldhouse

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