Tuesday, July 24, 2007

earth's poem
















nature
earth's poem
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?

16 comments:

janie said...

Very interesting post, I'll definitely check out The Art Spirit and did you do a course or something for the zen drawing ? That sounds like something I'd be into.

janie said...

btw beautiful leaf study.

andrea said...

This is a lovely sketch -- very delicate. I like seeing it at different angles.

Focus_ret said...

Beautiful drawing.
Is the bottom image a photograph of the actual leaf atop the drawing?

janie said...

Thanks heartfelt, I can't belive it was all there right in front of my nose, seems I really could do with some zen seeing :)

changapeluda said...

Yes I love it when things like that happen...makes me feel like singing Santana

...everything is comin' our way aye aye...

(g. went to the midnite selling of that book and then stayed up all thru the morning hours to read it...in approx. 7 hrs. loved it, crazy kid)

changapeluda said...

oh yeah and i love the pic of the leaf and your zen version of it.
lovely colors and shadows...i'm feelin it.

Mike said...

Fantastic drawing of that leaf. Great work.

studio lolo said...

Beautiful post HB! I love both books, and obviously you've gotten the message. I mean, just look at these leaf drawings! Thanks for reminding me to pick up the books again.

nĂ  said...

man, your leaf study is stunning! so much detail! so great!!! well done you!!! sounds like you had fun too. we miss you here too, wish it was our holiday time again! i've been messing with acrylics recently, but not posting anything up just yet, ideas for an illustrated short story - maybe i'll send you the story to read? have a good day, hugs lots and lots xxx

tt_b said...

What an interesting concept... I really relate to the idea of drawings being "records of the states of being" of the artist. Thanks for introducing the book you're reading.

And I think you've done a wonderful job of that with your leaf drawing. Fascinating blog.

-C- said...

I like leaves :)

Janice said...

the attainment of a state of being, a state of high functioning, a more than ordinary moment of existence..." I just understand it as pouring myself out. " but your writer is a bit more eloquent.
Absolutely stunning study of the leaf and thankyou for the inspirational words.

Nina said...

Your leaf is absolutely beautiful. When I saw the work, before reading your writing, I thought "She drew the leaf with her heart". And obviously, you did.

I wish I can slow down and draw too. I must make the time.

BIG hug.
Nina

Claire said...

Gorgeous drawings! That book sounds interesting...

Melissa Connolly said...

Oh, I've been traveling too much, too distracted, haven't checked your blog in a while and look at all that's here! Beautiful drawings! I love seeing the different stages.... Good studying! :-)