Artist and organizer Margaret Bellafiore is peaceful and focused as she draws intricate plant parts at a desk in Mobius Art Space. The open, airy studio is dotted with artists sketches and still-life arrangements –- plums, flowers, wine bottles –- there to give guests to Mobius’ second drawing marathon inspiration should they need it.
The event, which Mobius Art Group member Bellafiore planned after the success of a similar 12-hour event in June, focuses largely on models in the form of visiting sound artists who perform throughout the afternoon and evening. In one such performance, “trombone explorer” Tom Plsek, brass chair at the Berklee School of Music, does breathing exercises with his instrument. Bellafiore says he, “uses the instrument in all sorts of unusual ways, sort of like a didgeridoo.” The resulting sketches capture the “movement” of his music; Bellafiore’s sketches, for example, imitate the trombone’s arc, while a red ribbon of paint shows her impression of the notes emanating from the instrument.
Artist Lewis Gesner offers the sketchers’ visual and sound inspiration with his piece “Prayer Clock,” a meditative ritual where he uses a large dowel rod to cut through the air. Developed as a “transcendent way of praying” during a period of uncertainty about his fiance’s wellbeing, “Prayer Clock” is an extended exercise in which Gesner shifts his footing to face north, south, east, and west, swiping the air rhythmically and deliberately as he turns. His movements resonate deeply with those watching, and the sketchers’ results reflect the intensity of the exercise.
Artist Kate Maruskin stayed for the entirety of the event after a positive experience at Mobius’ first drawing marathon in June. A graduate of Randolph Macon College’s art program, Maruskin says that the drawing marathons have brought her back in touch with her painting after six years away. “To create, you need the time to find inspiration and to experiment,” she says. “You need a full window of time to reflect and sit quietly with your work. Maruskin notes that being encouraged to stay with a piece for a long period of time enables this process to unfold more completely and naturally.
The marathon focuses on more senses than just sight – the sounds of the experimental music, the smells of the fresh fruit and flowers in the still-life arrangements, and the buzz of other artists make this a helpful vehicle for artists looking to break through to the next level with their work. Bellafiore notes that this process is friendly to all abilities and ages – a small boy visited with his father on Sunday for some quality sketching time.
Bellafiore hopes to make the marathons a monthly event, saying that Sundays seem to be the ideal time for artists to gather and focus for long periods of time. Mobius’ next drawing marathon will be held on Sunday, October 25 from 12 to 8 p.m. So bring that piece that’s been gathering dust on the shelf –- and don’t forget the snacks.
All images are courtesy of the author.