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Draw something, anything! Saturday December 28, 2013

One of my favourite books that I return to again and again is Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory. I love his pearls of wisdom on page 16:

"We can't control what life deals us, just how we respond to it. And if we are monomaniacally focused on the bad stuff, we are missing the beauty of a half-eaten apple, the sunshine on the bedspread, the smell of warm cookies. This is an important but slippery lesson and I have had to learn it again and again."

Drawing can help us to untie the ribbons and open the gifts that each day bears. If there is anything that has helped me look, and I mean really look and see, it's been having a few Life Drawing classes over the years.

What's really interesting is that when I've drawn stuff in my journal, as opposed to writing about it, I can return to that moment, sometimes years later, with far greater recall than reading my words. No wonder then that Danny Gregory has also researched the wonders that drawing can do for the memory.

It's difficult to read any of Danny's books or blogs and not be inspired to pick up a pencil or pen and draw something. Anything!

Ah, but right now, many of you are thinking "But I can't draw!", "I don't have the time!" or "How can this help a low mood anyway?"

Well, drawing can take us to the 'flow state' - the perceptual, right hand side of the brain - that blissful garden in the frantic city of the mind where things are calmer, quieter and the outside chatter is stilled. Noticing the way the light casts shadows on a creased and crumpled napkin or your china cup, or listening to the sound of your pencil on quality paper, it's all cathartic.

As for not having the time, don't allow your mind to to trick you into believing that you must set aside a whole afternoon, have the 'proper' equipment or accomplished all "to-dos" first. No! You could draw something right now. Give yourself two minutes of noticing something and sketching it - your cats paw, an electrical plug or your Aunty Nellie snoozing in her chair. We don't have to be Vincent van Gogh to open our eyes and see shade, texture and colour.

And finally, if you are one of the many who say 'I can't draw!' remember Michelangelo's words: "What the eye can see the hand will draw". The trouble is, is that we don't give our eyes the chance to 'see'. We tend to dwell in the left, logistical side of the brain, concentrating on the drawing and on what we think it ought to look like. Look at the object, not your drawing.

The result? "The weight of sadness was in wonder lost." - William Wordsworth.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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The Entertrainer Sat, Dec 28th 2013 @ 8:29am

You write so well, Suzy - this is excellent.
I meet so many people with a self-imposed barrier to drawing. Often this stems from a foolish comment a teacher or someone influential has said that compromises the confidence of the budding artist.
One technique that is both pleasant to do as a movement, and effective for drawing, is doing a Moogie.
A Moogie is a continuous rotating movement of the pen on paper - a real squiggling round and round and round. Rather than a straight line, you can use this fun movement to create an abstract or cartoon version of anything you like - and I promise you, anyone can do it.
My favourite to start with is a sheep!

rubberstamper Sat, Dec 28th 2013 @ 12:52pm

So That's why I've taken up Zentangle! Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous Sat, Dec 28th 2013 @ 7:01pm

Sorry Suzy but some of us really can't draw. I tried classes just recently and couldn't etc, usually close up. Searching out things and then taking time to take the photo from the right place with the right shadows is my way of using the right side of my brain. Photos are a little bit more immediate and I'm not disappointed by them like my efforts at drawing things.

Julia Sat, Dec 28th 2013 @ 7:07pm

No I can't draw either however much I would love to be able to. My mother, son and sister can. My mother was an artist and comes from a long line of artists. cartoonists, some well known but I haven't caught those genes. I am much better at photography.

The Entertrainer Sat, Dec 28th 2013 @ 9:42pm
That's FAB!!!!
Really Escher-like... "Thank You, RubberStamper!!!"

The Entertrainer Sat, Dec 28th 2013 @ 9:45pm

I agree.
All the psychological and career profiles I've done have come out as off-the-scale "Artist" but the System said I was "Crap"... spelled with an "F".
However, photography (and Moogie art)[And Mind Mapping] has openned so many doors for my artistic bent to vent.
I really recommend jixipix software for turning your photos into Digital Art.
And, no, I'm not on commission but I do believe everyone has art inside them.

Mart Sat, Dec 28th 2013 @ 11:54pm

Suzy, I too have this wonderful little book by Danny Gregory (actually it was a lovely gift from someone) and whilst I loved flicking through it and being amazed by his brilliant sketches, I have to admit that not since being in school many years ago have I really explored what I can do with the humble pencil. However your blog today has inspired me and once again awakened my creative side so I'm going to get my pencil box out tomorrow and see where it takes me. Thank you!

Suzy Sun, Dec 29th 2013 @ 7:55am

Hey Julia and Anon, let me let you into a wee secret... I can't really draw either! But it's the really looking at things with fresh eyes and new perspective, the trying to draw what I see, it's this that absorbs me, and I guess, this that I was referring to more than anything. I love it when my mind shuts up and I become like a little girl again at play. Completely absorbed.
And yes, Im right with you on the photography. All the same principles apply don't they?
It reminds me of a wonderful scene in the film Sabrina when Sabrina says to Linus (Harrison Ford) to look through the lens of her camera. I can't remember the exact words but it's poetic - she says something about finding and capturing a story with each shot. I think that's also when she says: More isn't always more Linus. Sometimes it's just more.

Ah lovely film that.

Suzy Sun, Dec 29th 2013 @ 8:06am

And btw Julia, how utterly wonderful that you have such artistry in your heritage and ancestry! I'm right with the Entertrainer... we all have an inner artist in us. We may not have found a way to express that inner self, but it's in all of us to create. Of that I'm sure. ;o) xxx

Julia Sun, Dec 29th 2013 @ 9:22am

Thank you Suzy! Perhaps it doesn't matter if my drawings aren't good; as you say it's the actual drawing process that is relaxing whatever the results. So I may put pencil to paper today! Thanks for writing. X

Anonymous Sun, Dec 29th 2013 @ 6:11pm

I'm one of those who is completely unartistic and believe I can't draw. But years ago I read a wonderful book called "Drawing on the right side of the brain" by Betty Edwards. It didn't make me an artist and I still can't draw (although my drawing skills DID improve), but it did teach me to look at things more closely and see them more clearly, I also really enjoyed reading it and doing the exercises in the book. I really recommend it to people. I've looked on Amazon and see that you can get second hand copies for very little. Good idea Suzy!

Suzy Sun, Dec 29th 2013 @ 10:58pm

Im so glad you have mentioned this book. I've never read it but heard many a fine thing about it. I personally love Drawing For The Terrified by Richard Box. I did actually mention both these books in a wee postscript at end of post but think it somehow got missed off. So thank you kind Sir/Madam.
Greetings from a blustery Liverpool! :o)

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