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Art and Sanctuary.

My process as a visual artist usually involves careful planning: I think through an image, design it carefully, change my mind several times, but then stick pretty close to the plan. As a writer my process is much more organic – which, for me, is a fancy way of saying I have no idea where I’m headed, make it up as I go along, and am frequently astonished by where I land. A great pleasure of teaching is having a front-row seat as a variety of artists, from just hatched to fully fledged, unfold their work. Some have subtle rituals to prepare them for creation. Some devote time to careful planning and then surrender those plans with abandon when their hands touch ink. Others work in different ways on different days. Many of us find that the structure of printmaking (its requirements and its very limitations) provides us with a framework in which creation can more easily take place. I think this structure, these rituals, this planning, all usher us into the sanctuary of creation, just as touching my hand to holy water and making the sign of a cross ushered me into the hushed church as a child. Anna Marrow, whose luminous work is below, is especially satisfying to watch in that sanctuary, as her monotypes transform completely several times before they’re printed. I often see one incarnation that I think is nearing completion, but five minutes later it has taken a turn in a new direction. I admire her openness to the moment, and the way she listens to her inner promptings.

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