by Mark Runge
I’ve made art for years. Ever since I can remember, I’ve drawn on paper, in dirt, and in my mind with clouds, fabric, fur and many other textures. For nearly a decade I’ve taught studio art to different levels of students – from young children to octogenarians, from complete beginners to professional artists. But in all of my art making experiences I’ve never been as thoroughly moved as I have been by Touch Drawing.
I can draw; and I can create pretty art. I’ve had successful shows and sold many pieces of artwork. Though my art resume is filled with accomplishments, I am only now recognizing some of my best and most fulfilling work. I did not realize how hollow some of my art-making processes actually were. When I met Deborah in the summer of 2005 at The Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, my processes went from hollow to hallow. The shift was subtle yet profound.
Now into my third year of TD, I am just coming to terms with my art practices and art objects as sacred. And because of TD, my imagination is soaring. I am no longer tethered to the mundane art practices that bound me to the mundane art objects I was creating. My ideas and inspirations no longer come from external and destructive forces, and my art reflects this shift in consciousness. My art is coming from a higher source. I have learned and accepted that art comes from Spirit—if I allow it. This has been directly infused into my teaching philosophy and method.
At the college where I currently teach, I designed a 16-week TD course. The course was a success. Because this is a college level course, the lessons are sometimes heady, but the practice is always the same. It is amazing to see a generation that is seemingly addicted to “what’s next” sit around a classroom deep in meditative preparedness for TD. Even the smaller workshops that I have had the privilege to facilitate give me great pleasure and thoughtful appreciation of art making, teaching, and myself.
Mark Runge is a professional artist who has a studio in Clearwater, Florida, and has shown his artwork nationally. He teaches studio art at Eckerd College as well as other venues in the Tampa Bay area.