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Our 10th Year!



VOL.10, NO.10




More than 125,000 readers throughout Greater Baltimore

Finding the ‘art’ in martial arts


I N S I D E …


By Carol Sorgen What might have been a tragedy for Douglas Lake served, instead, not only as a wake-up call, but also as creative inspiration. Nine years ago, Overlea resident Douglas Lake, then just 50, woke up one morning and, as he put it, “fell over dead with a heart attack.” Despite having been a lifelong martial arts practitioner, Lake was out of shape and, at 275 pounds, 100 pounds overweight. Fortunately, doctors were able to save Lake’s life, and he made a commitment to regain his health through t’ai chi, meditation, running and better nutrition. Five years later, Lake, who owns Comprehensive Survival Arts Martial Arts and Wellness School in Owings Mills, decided to pay tribute to his near-death experience with a series of pen and ink drawings. A “mostly” self-taught artist, Lake, who has been inspired by such artists as Arthur Rackham, Peter Max, Joseph Clement Coll, Maxfield Parrish, Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth, embarked on an ambitious task — to create one hand-drawn, hand-inked inspirational drawing a day.

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L E I S U R E & T R AV E L

Contemporary attractions in Spain’s Basque Country and Catalonia; plus, getting your car to a distant destination page 29

Drawing inspiration The first was entitled “Hope,” and 150 days later, Lake had 150 drawings, each with a different theme, such as “Angels,” “Compassion,” and “Joy.” While Lake’s favorite drawings have to do with emotions, his drawings fall into categories ranging from the four seasons to cultural arts and creativity, family, the military, nature, food and drink, sports, children, wellness, and the five “elements” — earth, fire, water, metal, and wood. Lake called the series “Art of Inspiration,” and today he sells prints and notecards of his drawings on his website, He also sells at art shows such as the upcoming Sugarloaf Crafts Festival at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, Oct. 4-6. “I felt like I was in a trance,” Lake said about his “cathartic,” prodigious artistic output in such a short period of time. “But I had been through so much physically and mentally that I wanted to create something from the experience that perhaps other people could relate to as well.”

Douglas Lake demonstrates his drawing style to young artists. Lake took up art after surviving a heart attack, creating a series of ink drawings with inspirational themes, such as compassion and joy, while continuing to manage his martial arts studio.

Turning to art to make sense of an illness is not uncommon. In Psychology Today, art therapist Cathy Malchiodi wrote that “art expression often becomes a pathway for transforming feelings and perceptions into a new life story and, as a result, creating a new sense of self.” According to Malchiodi, “re-authoring” one’s life story may take on different aspects — such as developing a new outlook on life, making changes in how one lives one’s life, or creating a new “post-illness” identity, among others. “Making art is a form of ‘meaning making’ that can be ultimately helpful in an individual’s adjustment and acceptance of serious or lifethreatening conditions,” Malchiodi wrote.

Sharing lessons with others The discipline and intricacy that Lake had always found so appealing in martial arts is reflected in his art. And what he loves about being a martial arts instructor — the interaction with his students and teaching them not to be afraid of life — is what he tries to do through his art as well. “I’m trying to touch people the way the changes in my life have touched me,” he continued. “I hope the story I have to tell will inspire others, and that they can take inspiration from it and learn from it.” Though his daughter now runs the martial arts school and teaches the younger, See ARTIST, page 27


A masterful Les Miserables at Toby’s Dinner Theatre; plus, art galleries abound on local college campuses page 34

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October 2013 Baltimore Beacon Edition  

October 2013 Baltimore Beacon Edition

October 2013 Baltimore Beacon Edition  

October 2013 Baltimore Beacon Edition