Tuesday, July 31, 2007
August challenge will be posted up soon.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
for those who care to listen
I hadn't realised that I'd been away from my blog for over a week. Stuff happens...like spending the entire weekend reading the very last ever Harry Potter book (it's fantastic and that's all I'm saying).
After inhabiting Harry's world so intensely, I felt the best way to bring me back to reality was to do some zen drawing. So I sat down to draw this leaf. It blew onto our doorstep one day and I knew I had to draw it. Doing so was the first time since I started the zen drawing thing that I felt I really understood what it's about. I finished the drawing in two separate sittings of about 2 hours each. I felt like I really connected with the contours of the leaf, I could feel its curves and see the shadows collecting on its surface. Not surprisingly, I really enjoyed it, I felt like I was drawing with my whole self, even my heart. It was also an immensely rewarding lesson on the value of slowing down and being patient.
It also helped me to understand something I've been reading and contemplating. It comes from Robert Henri's The Art Spirit, which I picked up for guidance after my painting struggles. And oh what a treasure it is! Here's just one illuminating thought from it:-
"The object of painting a picture is not to make a picture - however unreasonable this may sound. The picture, if a picture results, is a by-product and may be useful, valuable, interesting as a sign of what has past. The object, which is back of every true work of art, is the attainment of a state of being, a state of high functioning, a more than ordinary moment of existence...These results, however crude, become dear to the artist who made them because they are records of the states of being which he has enjoyed and which he would regain. They are likewise interesting to others because they are to some extent readable and reveal the possibilities of greater existence." (from The Art Spirit, emphasis his)
...which is kind of similar to the state of being present and mindful, in zen seeing and drawing, and made me see the value of paying attention, of not just seeing but also feeling what I'm drawing with my whole being, something that I should be doing every time I sit down to draw or paint, and not just during the month of trying out zen drawing.
Anyway, The Art Spirit is full of wonderfully encouraging, wise and inspiring insights. It feels like a gift to have discovered it just when I'm struggling so much with painting...don't you just love it when stuff like that happens?
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
So that's how I'm going to try and take this. As a well-meaning blow to the skull, all for the cause of fertile uproar. But just incase you think I'm being falsely modest...here's the proof...if there are any painters out there reading this, your advice would be greatly appreciated.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
This was / is very challenging. I had to remember to stay present and relaxed, to stay focussed, but not try to control the picture too much. I had to keep reminding myself that the aim wasn't to produce a beautiful picture, but a truthful one. Did I really see and did my hand translate that seeing? I don't know. Perhaps there were moments of seeing, but old habits got in the way. I'll keep going though.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
July's challenge is to see. To look, to really see, to be present and to draw. I'm setting this challenge because I've noticed my tendency to draw too quickly, impatiently, hurriedly. I've been drawing and painting (and doing most things) with too busy a mind. I know I need to slow down, be patient, to be present, really look and see, connect. I'll be drawing guidance from Frederick Franck's Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing.
Above is an example of a time I made myself really look. It's a drawing of a piece of wood I found on the beach at Fiorenzuola in Italy.
So, if you feel the need to be still, be present, to see with open eyes...give this a go. And if you do, leave me a comment to let me know. I'll post a link to your drawing in the sidebar of my blog.