Cheryl and I took a year-long hiatus from the Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal art, blog, and classes, but now we’re back.
Starting Jan. 2, 2018, Cheryl will teach a two week class The Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal. It is a two week online course in drawing memories, dreams, and reflections on black paper using gel pens or Prismacolor pencils.
In love with vivid color, we pursue the soul’s uncensored purpose.
To get back in the groove, we are each returning to our black journals and sharpening up our Prismacolors.
Sandy got started this morning with a drawing that began with a dream and then went from there. She wrote a poem that “explains” each step of the drawing.
A Return to the Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal
Now we return to teach and be taught
by The Mysterious Journal of Dreams.
Bright colors and a black field—
the gate between worlds swings wide.
As I drew the distant mountains,
I thought, ” A faraway friend.”
As I colored in the layered cliffs,
I thought, “Banded agate.”
As the petroglyphs emerged,
I thought, “Return to a seed, a star, a tree.”
A boat blew her sails into the wind,
And I said, “Now we’re on the water.”
The surf first, and then the wind,
and two swimmers, you and me,
The earth, the sky, the sea.
–Sandy Brown Jensen
Have YOU been dreaming or drawing or writing lately?
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”
What has been drawing YOU? Let us know in the comment field–it’s above, just under the headline where it says “Leave a comment.”
The inaugural Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal Course went extremely well! A new section has opened and is available for enrollment now for $75.00:
Welcome to Your Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal Online Class
Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal began one day in Eastern Oregon when sister Cheryl gave sister Sandy a black paper artist’s journal and a handful of gel pens and Prismacolor pencils. Both of us started first to do scribble art.
Out of the darkness of the page emerged the figures of dream and imagination. I was as if we were cave painters putting our hands to the dark cave walls and blowing paint to mark our passing there. Spirit figures emerged from the dark pages of the cave and began to move in living color.
In our Mysterious Night Vision Field Journals, we see the outer world in reverse, as if in a mirror. Slightly disoriented, in love with vivid color, we pursue the soul’s uncensored purpose.
We are so glad you are joining us!
In this class, you will be given a short lesson and a drawing assignment or challenge every other day. Videos and examples are provided for direction and inspiration. There are also bonus assignments for those who have time to explore more deeply.
Some of the assignments are:
Draw a Dream Animal
Draw a Volcano, Tsunami or Other Dramatic Natural Disaster
Draw a Jungle
Draw a Soul Portrait
Draw a Dream
You will write about your images, then take a photo (with your cell phone, for example) and add to the class. There you will be able to give and receive imaginative, supportive feedback.
Cheryl Renee Long is the instructor for this course. She’s the blonde in the photo.
Her sister, Sandy Brown Jensen, will be taking the course alongside you. Sandy is also the resident techie, so feel free to consult with her with any tech related questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
We love our Mysterious Night Vision Journals, and we are excited to be sharing this passion with you.
On March 5, 2016, Daniel Smith Artist Supplies in Seattle, WA, sponsored a Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal workshop by Cheryl Renee Long and Sandy Brown Jensen. This video captures that event and the spontaneous art produced by the 13 participants. The pool is still open–jump on in! The registration button is on the home page of this blog post.
Sometimes I feel that I am nurturing a baby. I hold her close to my heart and I go about my life.
Sometimes I dream that I have forgotten my baby or I left her behind somewhere. I frantically search for her and usually find I left her behind at the home of a relative.
In my dream I berate myself, “How could I forget a child?”
A few weeks ago I reviewed all of my old sketchbooks going back to the 1970’s. I saw so many great sketches that remained an embryonic idea. It made me sad to see how many possibilities never came to fruition.
But ideas are everywhere. We mere humans cannot actualize the abundance of creativity that is available to us.
So I draw the woman with a baby, a floral skirt and colorful shawl. She nurtures her art the very best she can, and she also dances and she rejoices in life.
I hope you will join us for the March 7, 2016 Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal class, or tell someone you love about it.
NOTE: The next Color Your World two week class begins Jan 4, 2016. What makes this class different is the one-on-one daily interaction with an empathetic instructor and with a supportive community of fellow artists. Only $50.00. Click this button to learn more and to register:
If you would like to experience a free class, click here:
Tropical Dreaming (On Such A Winter’s Day)
By Cheryl Renee Long
December 28, 2015
Hello! I’m looking forward to meeting many of you Jan. 4 when the colored pencil online class starts.
Yesterday I purchased sturdy rubber boots with a confetti pattern to enliven gray days, rain and wading across flooded trails. After-Christmas shopping for myself included warm fuzzy mittens and wool hiking socks. It is winter in the Pacific Northwest – wet, cold, and flooding. We are delighted, of course. Last summer we fought a forest fire in our local Hoh Rainforest. Water is essential to maintaining a rainforest with its giant cedar trees and acres of hanging moss. Rain is a must.
However, desert rat that I am, my paintbrush longs for sunshine, palm trees, blazing orange and pink sunsets and enticing cenotes.
Cenotes are small lakes or pools of fresh water in the jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.
Today, I drew my imaginary go-to place to relax and meditate. People swim and snorkel in the cenotes. The trail across the landscape is populated by two cars and people walking. The gulls are ever present along with the colorful sailboats in the Caribbean.
Somewhere far back in my childhood, a visionary teacher asked me to draw around my own hand and color it. I remember feeling delight when I drew my hand and frustration with the blunt and wimpy crayons. Even then I longed for intense color and precise drawing tools.
This morning at 3:20 am, my art naturally gravitated to black paper and gel pen. December 6 is only 17 days from winter solstice and the longest day on planet earth. There is something translucent about winter art. The barrier between waking and sleeping seems sheer. The conscious and the subconscious talk to each other more clearly under the blanket of a dark and rainy night.
Tonight I draw my hand as an elder, many years from the kindergarten art class. I think of it as a secret letter to myself. Who am I now? What have I become since 5 years old? Is this a life well lived so far?
DRAW YOUR HAND EXERCISE
Sometimes the simplest, most childlike art-assignments-to-self can yield the most piercing insights into ourselves. I don’t need to tell you for that for this one, place your hand on your black paper journal and draw its outline. Do you see how that looks like an image on the ancient cave walls? This is a really old art exercise!
Now enter into the drawing trance of childhood, adding words and images to your hand.
DRAW A MAP ON YOUR HAND
Because there is a little cartographer in each of us, an evocative variation of this exercise is to draw a map on your hand, as Gretchen Jones does here:
DRAW A DREAM IMAGE OF YOUR HAND
This is another approach to the hand exercise by Sandy Brown Jensen. This hand appeared to me in a dream where I dreamed the late Tibetan dream yoga master Tarab Tulku placed a very ancient blue agate eye in my palm.
Have you tried drawing your hand and then “entering” it with words and images? What was your experience? Tell us in the Comment field above.
NOTE: The comment field is at the top of the blog post. If you are the first to comment, it will helpfully read “No comments.” Click there!
Yesterday was a day of dark storm clouds broken by sudden sun openings. Although I felt weak from a lingering flu, I picked up my camera for a short walk to see for myself what all the drama was about.
From the bridge over the Willamette River, still golden cottonwoods lit up with sunlight while thick, black clouds roiled behind. The light quickly changed to shadow and then the sun came back again, so my vision seemed to move between the everyday world and that Otherworld always waiting for a turn of the head, the shift in light that would reveal that world where every object is imbued with its own spirit and is waiting to speak to you about whatever is in your heart.
As I was crossing the boardwalk between two ponds, I stopped to frame an image of leaves, water, and reflections when I was startled by the banking flap of enormous wings. Great Blue Heron had flown directly into the focus place of the photo I had framed.
Instantly, I thought of a fragment from Ovid’s Heroides I had read earlier on the morning:
“Chance is always powerful. Let your hook always be cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be fish.”
Each card had a different animal on it, and its qualities translated into human terms in a little accompanying book. When we had a chance encounter with an animal in either the real world or through dream or another chance encounter such as the logo on a truck that arrested our attention, we would say that the animal “flew into my cards today.” We would look up the meaning of the card and through drawing and journaling think about the lesson or insight the animal was bringing. I consider this to be High Play.
Well, Great Blue Heron had certainly flown into my cards–smack into the intense focus of my camera.
I didn’t actually know anything about the symbolic or shamanic meaning of cranes or herons in Western traditions, so I did due diligence when I got home and looked it up.
I learned that herons and cranes were important in Celtic mythology. One reason was because those bird species lived in a misty environment between land and water–the marsh. Just as an hour of quick-changing sun and shadow shifted my seeing between worlds, so does the heron live in that liminal place at the doorway to the Otherworld.
I really love the other reason, too, which I learned from Anna Franklin’s excellent online site, Power Animals, Allies and Totem Animals, “The Celtic god Ogma was said to invented ogham [an ancient British and Irish alphabet] after watching the flight of cranes, the shapes of the birds against the sky giving him the idea for the angular letters.” As a poet and writing instructor, the idea of my writing springing from the shapes of birds against the sky is deeply satisfying.
I have been thinking pretty much non-stop lately about the Mysterious Night Vision Field Journaland the classes my sister and I are creating. The appearance of the Great Blue Heron literally flying into my focus tells me we are on the right track.
Your Mysterious Night Vision Field Journalis your Secret Book, your Book of Dreams where you draw and journal in that numinous space between land and water where the heron lives and feeds. We look at the outer world with our inner eyes, and when the heron flies, we understand the writing their stick legs and archeopteryx shapes make against the sky.
When the heron flapped giant silver wings into my lens, folded up and settled on his log in the pond, I got goosebumps all over. I definitely felt the necessity of responding to this vivid visitation in my Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal; this time as this blog post.
Moss says, “Feeling is your clue to meaning.”
Do you know the poet Mary Oliver? What she doesn’t know about the Science of Shivers doesn’t need to be known. Most of her poems creep up on me and give me the shivers–including those about Great Blue Heron:
Heron Rises From the Dark, Summer Pond
By Mary Oliver
is the long-necked, long-bodied heron,
always it is a surprise
when her smoke-colored wings
and she turns
from the thick water,
from the black sticks
of the summer pond,
rises into the air
and is gone.
Then, not for the first or the last time,
I take the deep breath
of happiness, and I think
how unlikely it is
that death is a hole in the ground,
that ascension is not possible,
though everything seems so inert, so nailed
back into itself–
the muskrat and his lumpy lodge,
the fallen gate.
And especially it is wonderful
that the summers are long
and the ponds so dark and so many,
and therefore it isn’t a miracle
but the common thing,
this trailing of the long legs in the water,
this opening up of the heavy body
into a new life: see how the sudden
gray-blue sheets of her wings
strive toward the wind; see how the clasp of nothing
takes her in.
Watch carefully then tell me: who flew into YOUR cards today?
NOTE: The comment field is at the top of the blog post. If you are the first to comment, it will helpfully read “No comments.” Click there!
BOOKS I REFERENCED IN THIS ARTICLE
Note: I have personally read all of the books I referenced in this article and can recommend them to you as good companions on your Journey.
Your Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal is not like any other art you’ve done or seen before. Because the soul is always dreaming, awake or asleep, the stream of images is always available to you. Just as the stars are still out in the daytime, Dreamtime is always with you. However, the bright sun of your awake mind dims them to view. You need a reliable entry point, a way in,
In all shamanic traditions, there is a gateway to the spirit world. It could be a crack in a cave wall or a burrow under an old growth tree. Maybe it’s at the bottom of a lake or a back door to your own home you never noticed before. Whatever it is, you can draw it and come back to that drawing over and over as your own unique doorway to your imagination.
Prepare a quiet space to work in your Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal. Make sure you will be undisturbed. Leave your technology in the other room, turned off, so you won’t be distracted. That includes cats, dogs, and kids!
Spread your tools out before you: black paper, gel pens, colored pencils. Light a candle if you want. Now, breathe and center yourself.
Let the image of a doorway, gate, or other portal form in your mind. No judgment or editing! Let it be what it is going to be. Stay with it a while. Do you need a password or special key to get in?
Now, wait for it to open. Be patient, and when it does, go through.
“Finally, your patience is rewarded: the ancient stone door creaks open, the drawbridge is lowered, the boulder magically rolls away from the mouth of the cave. However you visualize your portal to the mythic realm, see it as inviting you to adventure.”
–Jill Jepson Writing as a Sacred Path
Now, quietly pick up your pen and begin to draw. Become as immersed in your drawing as you did when you were a kid.
This is important work, this building a portal to the world of waking dream.
Report back here with a comment: what was your experience? Describe your portal to your imagination.
In late February 2016, Cheryl Renee Long and the hard working behind-the-scenes crew at Toucan Create! will introduce a brand new online class on how to loosen up your creativity and really explore your artistic imagination drawing with gel pen or colored pencils on black paper. This is your Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal!
GETTING READY FOR THE CLASS
Here are some tips about some supplies you might like to get you started.
TALKING ABOUT PAPER
First things first! Check out the Toucan Artists Bookstore or your local art supply store and buy yourself a black sketchbook. Size is up to you, but personally I like something small that says “field journal” to me. The one I just started is by Artagain and is 9″ x 6″. It’s pretty spendy at $29.70. If I had my way, it would be about 5 1/2″ x 5 1/5″.
If you like working on a little larger format, the Pacon Basic Black Sketch Book, 8.5″x11″ is a good choice and only costs $4.99. I have been known to buy a sketchbook this large then take it down to my local copy center, cut the pages in halves or quarters and have the resulting custom-sized sketchbook spiral bound with my own cover on it.
TALKING ABOUT GEL PENS AND COLORED PENCILS
When it comes to gel pens that glow in the darkness that is your Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal, one pen rules them all: the one, the only, the fabulous Sakura of Gelly Roll fame. Their huge line of pens glitter, glow, and pouf. Here are a couple of charts to help you better evaluate which pens do what:
Of the pens that look great on black paper, Moonlight at $6.99 for a pack of 10 is the best. I know Souffle looks good, but it is a weird, three-dimensional ink that takes a couple minutes to dry, and then if you flip another page down on top it, the poufiness crushes down into a peculiar mess. Proceed at your own risk!