Now you see it, now you don’t

Sometimes there just isn’t time or space to create a complicated or long-lasting piece of art. Today, for instance, I’m up to my eyebrows trying to get in touch with sources for an article that’s due on Monday. As in, the day after tomorrow. Which pretty much leaves me stuck near the phone and my desk, but with lots of little bits of time in between. I don’t want to start concentrating on a big project and get pulled away from it. And I don’t want to give short shrift to the interviewees—if and when they do call (pretty please?), I need to have my mind on the questions I need to ask them and be ready to dive right into the interview.

Another one of those right brain/left brain conflicts.

This is when I get out the evaporation board—I don’t know what the thing is actually made of—some kind of clay slip over illustration board is my guess. I actually have two of these, one small, one large, given to me, respectively, by a good friend and by my kids. Board, brush, water, and you’re set to go. You paint quickly, and then you can either walk away from the masterwork, or sit with it while you watch it, in essence, unpaint itself. Within a very few minutes, the water has evaporated, and you’re left with a painter’s (and a writer’s, come to think of it) best dream and worst nightmare: the blank page.

In this case, though, it’s a very freeing blank page—here now, gone in a moment, masterpieces and mistakes alike. Maybe it’s a tribute to your beloved but slowly-disappearing (appropriate, somehow) aged kitty:

a mark that wanted to be made but means nothing:

or the humble enso:

And, of course, if the whole impermanence thing escapes you at the moment, you can always photograph or even scan the images (quick!). Apparently I’m not alone in loving to create these transient masterpieces. On a whim I searched flickr for Buddha board (the technical name for the stuff) images—there are some neat things here (note—some images may be NSFW).


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