Monday, January 05, 2015


Yes, that really does say -15 degrees and yes, I did get up at 4:30am and go to the gym and yes, I probably am nuts.

There was a beautiful full moon out to guide my way.
My world at that hour of the morning is black and white. From what I can see around me to my attitude about getting my exercise in for the day. Just do it.

The tree has been taken down, most of the Christmas decorations have been packed away. I'm starting to feel that sense of "new beginning", the "new school supplies" syndrome. I'm ready to get to work.

One of my buddies, a long time buddy, Donna has issued a challenge on her blog, sketching something everyday.

It's a wonderful challenge and I am sure many will rise to it. I unfortunately, know myself better than that. Putting that kind of pressure on myself, even enjoyable pressure like creating art, can backfire, cause me anxiety and completely lose the purpose for which it was intended.

I decided to TRY for once a week and create something in black and white. So, today, you can see my photograph of the temperature this morning.
That's about the best you are going to get from me today.

My mind these day has been on abstract art. I'm working in the book Creating Abstract art by Dean Nimmer. Rather than sketching something realistic I've been allowing myself to do some automatic drawing or "free drawing".  It is said to be a direct line to our inner self. It's relaxing and creates a moment for the body & mind to become centered. 

Very much like Yoga for the artist.

I have a stack of cheap drawing paper on the table.
I pick up a pencil and then concentrate on my breathing. A breath in through my nose, a deep breath, all the way down to my belly button and then a slow exhale through my mouth, lips slightly opened. I focus my attention on my breath.

Thoughts will come into my mind as they will to yours. You observe them and then allow them to move on. You don't analyze them, pick them apart, worry them like a dog with a bone, you just see them and let them move on. 

Put the pencil on the paper and then tell yourself that what ever happens happens. What ever you draw on that paper is just fine. This is not a masterpiece. You are giving up control of making marks from the "little you".  Let's see what your deeper inner self wants to draw. Focus your attention back on your breath and draw. Let your pencil move where it wants to go.

When you feel like you have completed that drawing, just push it aside and take another piece of paper and begin again. There is time later to oooh and aagggg over your drawings. 

I have found in the two days that I have been doing this that it takes me about four sheets of paper before I really relax and "let go".  Those four sheets of paper often look quite messy and sometimes even controlled. By the fifth sheet I start to see something that feels like it has a sense of flow.

I consider the first four sheets of paper the clearing out stage. 

Yes, it looks like a scribble.

Take a look at your last four drawings. Put them up on a foam board or your table in the order that you did them.  Can you see any development, connection between them? Was there one shape or line that wanted to be expressed? Can you tell where you stopped directing your pencil and just let your hand respond to the tool.

Was there a word or thought that you remembered when you were drawing?

How do you feel when you look at them now? 

Day one I didn't even ask myself these questions.  I just cleared out what I could and got on to other artwork. 
Day two I observed a thought and I just made a note of it.

You could probably use this exercise for journaling, clearing your head, spiritual development or just centering yourself for your next creative endeavor.

You can also use these drawings for what is considered additional progress in your artistic development by giving an empathic response to your work.

If you choose to do this exercise, put just one drawing up on a neutral background and then take a breath. Allow yourself to relax and just be aware of the drawing.  Do not let your brain start making judgement calls about it. Tell yourself that your goal is to accept the drawing exactly as it is. All you want to do is and are you paying attention here?  You want to pretend to see the world as the drawing feels it.

Confused?  Don't be. There isn't a right or wrong here.  Just relax, look at your drawing. Allow yourself to sink into the realization that this drawing came from a deeper place within yourself. How does this deeper self see the world? What feeling do you get when you observe the drawing? 

You can journal these thoughts or you can just make an empathic response out loud and then let them go.

Goal?  Try to become one with this drawing. Try not to allow your little self to be judgemental.  

I've said this before, over the years, our souls or whatever name you want to give to your spiritual self, wants to create, it needs to create. Your actual health and well being depends on allowing it to create. Our way of life, our culture, our environment often doesn't allow space or time for this to happen.

Enjoy your day.
Don't forget to create something today.

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