conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

Marcia Brady and ListenTalk and Learning in 2015

with 8 comments

Even the Gray and White Outside Points In

LowBattery-3-20151230Surely you notice all the 2015 retrospectives: photography, music, film, advertising. Every industry has some writer summing the year into the ten best. These waning days lend themselves to a bit of reflection.

2015 was a year for trying things. Today I’ll produce my 365th dumb sketch—a sketch a day since January 1, 2015. Did I produce art? Not a single time. But I did learn to see shadow and light and the crazy, limitless variation in the people around me. MarciaBrady-20151229I did learn that very few lines exist out in the physical world and that Marcia Brady can look like the Joker when drawn spectacularly wrong.

From publishing ListenTalk: Is Conversation an Act of God? I learned that I need to simplify my argument for listening to each other. In fact, the mystery and promise of conversation has taken hold of me so that I am listening to conversations in a new way. I continue ListenTalkCover-07082015to wonder what might happen if people at work listened to each other more closely. I continue to hope my nation can learn to listen to people outside our tribe rather than label and dismiss them. I suspect conversation is an engine will continue to sketch out the parameters of useful conversation in 2016.

Outside my window are variations on gray and white. Gray sky. White snow. Dark gray AliquippaPA-20151217branches thrusting up toward blue-gray clouds. Lighter gray shadow on snowy edges. It’s the perfect climate for asking about the fruit of a year’s worth of effort.

How about you? What’s got your attention as 2015 melts into the gray?



Dumb sketches: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

December 30, 2015 at 10:08 am

8 Responses

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  1. You totally did produce art. The last image you included may be my favorite! Marcia Brady is good too! There are many many people who couldn’t get these images down the way you can, with the perspective right and adding appropriate color. It’s a lot harder than non-artists think. I think your experimental year was a success, and no telling what happens if you keep going into the future!

    Laura (Createarteveryday)

    December 30, 2015 at 11:32 am

    • You have always been such an encourager, Laura. I appreciate that. What’s in my head is always so different from what I produce on paper, but maybe that is the point of quantity over quality: over time you get more toward what you mean to do. Thanks again for your many great comments.


      December 30, 2015 at 11:36 am

      • You’re a great encourager too! And the same thing happens, I think, with all of us. Very very rarely has anything matched my original vision. Sometimes with watercolor, it’s better but totally different. I think our vision is probably not the thing to shoot for. Maybe best just to let what happens happen. Maybe art is just an exercise in releasing our energy and letting go.

        Laura (Createarteveryday)

        December 30, 2015 at 11:53 am

      • That’s a pretty good word, Laura. Especially because I hope to work with wet on wet watercolor next. I’m still thinking back to some of your early experiments and I want to try that myself.


        December 30, 2015 at 11:55 am

      • Yay, that’s the way to have fun with watercolor. Talk about meditative. Especially if you’re not going for anything, just letting go of the end result and see what happens.

        Laura (Createarteveryday)

        December 30, 2015 at 11:57 am

  2. Laura is right…you continually underestimate your work. You totally did produce art, despite your protestations.
    And conversation. Your art and words are both funny and serious, thoughtful and open-ended. And you listen and respond too.
    Happy New Year! If you are seriously leaving, I hope you will at least pay us a visit from time to time. (K)


    December 31, 2015 at 6:15 am

    • I honestly cannot see it, Kerfe. Everyone once in a while I think something turned out sort of ok, but generally not. So I really appreciate you and others pointing out the good things you see. I am seriously leaving the day by day posting, and moving to a more occasional schedule. I want to take more time with things and see if I can up my craft a bit. But right away–for the first three or four months, I’ll be busy with grading assignments. I’ll be around. Thanks for your encouragement.


      December 31, 2015 at 9:41 am

      • I’ll look for you! good luck with the class (lucky students, although I bet they won’t realize it…)


        December 31, 2015 at 11:09 am

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