Sunday, March 08, 2009

CHALLENGE - Sense Journal

The weekly challenge TO SEE WITH A CHILD'S EYES is over. I hope you continue to walk through your life PRACTICING this ability TO SEE.

Think of it as a gift of wanting to see. Unless we actively do this on a daily basis, we resort back to what we have done for year, judge and dismiss. We ignore and don't see the details that surround us.

I hope that while doing this challenge you felt more awake, more childlike in looking at your surroundings.

One surprising outcome for me was my interest in shadows. After doing the exercise for a couple of days I became fascinated with shadows and as one of my posts shows I even went out for a drive looking for interesting shadows.

In Corita's classes she assigned an exercise where you sit quietly for about 15 minutes and look at the shadows in the room. Most people find five minutes their limit. Please give it a chance and sit still. You might be surprised what will happen. As you sit and watch you will see things that you didn't really see before. Perhaps it's the texture of the wall, the delicate web of a spider or just shadows that you hadn't noticed before. Trust me when I tell you that you can't just READ about this process you actually have to FORCE yourself to sit down for at least 15 minute (set a timer) and SEE.
This exercise reminds me of when I was teaching my oldest son to draw and we were using the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. My book is taped together a well used book. For fun I posted an inverted drawing of Pablo Picasso I did back in June of 1981.
This book explained the looking at negative space, to me. I remember Justin and I drawing our hands using this process and how much our hand drawings actually looked like the real thing. We were both impressed.
So, we move on to WEEK TWO-CHALLENGE: The Sense Journal.
Corita felt that keeping a Sense Journal/Diary for even a week was a valuable exercise. I have to agree. The act of recording anything on a regular basis keeps us focused on what we are doing. The most successful people in weight loss groups are the ones that keep daily journals/diaries of what they actually ate. The act of writing it down forced them to account and see what it was they were putting into their bodies.
A Sense Journal is just a tool. It helps us to retain what we see and the details which often are lost or are remembered differently. You may find that keeping a Sense Journal along with your other journals is going to be an on going project. It's a way of storing memories, words, ideas and images that we see, hear or read. You might find yourself including words from songs, bits or whole pieces of poetry or even like me just one word that catches your fancy. My Sense Journal after all these years is really my Life Journal.
This whole process is requiring us, as human beings and artists to shut out the daily barrage of information, to slow down for a period of the day and be patient, listen and most of all SEE.
At art journal workshops teens often tell me that their journals are filled with emotions. It's a wonderful outlet for that. The Life Journal/Art Journal can be so much more. I want them to get beyond focusing on themselves and SEE the world around them. I want them to shift their awareness. These exercises can help in the process. I believe they can help all of us especially when we get into a "slump" cycle. That dry cycle where the creative muse seems to have taken a vacation. When the normal things that we try to do to charge our creative batteries do not work.
I hope this is another set of skills for you. Try the exercise for a week. Add it to your first challenge. Have a wonderful day and I hope you remembered to turn your clocks forward. :)Bea

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