Crane-like lily by Rose Watson

Can you see the crane?

Lily #963 by Rose Watson

"Lillie 963"

1,000 Lilies: S. Rose Watson's Journey Through Grief

Rose Watson at work on a painting

Rose Watson working on one of her 1,000 "Lillies"

There are many things that I decide I canít do, like draw Lillies [Rose's styling] with my left hand. I drew 730 Lillies with my right hand. With each Lillie I learned more about myself and I learned also to open my eyes up to new "seeing."

At 300 Lillies, suddenly a crane emerged as I was drawing. A paper crane: head dipped down, wings spreading boldly out to each side and tail folded behind itself.

I looked back at all my previous paintings, and sure enough the very act which had inspired me -- that of folding a thousand cranes to receive a healing -- was contained within the heart of my own project....

[On March 26, I broke my drawing hand.] Thus, the Left-Handed Lillie was born....

Lily #200 by Rose Watson

"Lillie 200"

I majored in Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and it was such a debilitating experience that it has taken me years and years to recover. A big thank you to Julia Cameron for The Artistís Way, which I did with a group of women and birthed the Twilight Tea Lounge at the end of the 12-week session. Also I may be the only adult allowed to take the Childrenís Studio Class at River Gallery School, where I copied work by the other kids in the classes to heal my crumpled wings -- and, boy, was I flying after remembering the freedom of my inner childís creative desires! Next I started drawing and painting with Betsy MacArthur, who brought me fully into the beauty of line drawing ... and drawing and drawing. She drew up to 10 self-portraits a day and lots of flowers; she never uses an eraser, just lets the drawing create itself. This is the learning I took into the Lillie project, though I confess I used my eraser at least 10 times!

Copyright 2009, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont

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