Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sketch 1 and 2: It begins...

Ok, here we go.

First and foremost, I made a copy of the 4 heads from Jana's drawing blog. I am sending her an email asking for her permission to reproduce her work here - nothing like the horse is already out of the barn...and by the way, Jana...

(Click to enlarge)

I will type out the writing on the page since by now you know why I tend to type everything.

At the top: To Paul, because I couldn't refuse his "please," and MojoMan for the encouragement, and Laura because you were looking forward to it also.

On the left: I printed these 4 heads - a cluster from soneone's sketching blog. I figured copying and sketching would be helpful ~ and I wanted to work on hair and hairlines.

Middle Right: these "blocks" are from an outline from a Triple A identification card (because the sense of a confined area seemed less daunting to me.)

Bottom right: This is my rendition of the head I downloaded. 1. I like the hair.
2. The jaw and mouth are "off" 3. And the mole and the jowl isn't even close.

The 2 drawings with #1 and #2 are "mine."



Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Seeing As Meditation, As An Invitation To Fresh Beginnings

I've been telling myself for years, many years, that I want to draw, to sketch, to express visually. And for years I find myself periodically also realizing that I haven't really done anything "to put 'real' feet under the wish, the intent.

Typically I will get into it again for a few days and settle in to do some drawing. I find that it takes time and I also experience a shifting of awareness; I don't want it to sound too "high falutin'" but it's like I go through a portal. Time shifts, focus increases, clarity is presented, subtle differences I hadn't noticed pop up one after another. I tend to be generally pleased by what happens and that encourages me to go further. But inevitably, to date, I stop after several days.

The goal, the wish, doesn't go away. The intent doesn't either. What does get lost, however, is the sustained action.

Once again, I'm back at it. This time I have become aware of one of the experiences which captures and excites my intent again. It's like I'll be looking at someone and I will notice a play of shadows, of textures, of tones. It excites the intent but it also reminds me of how I have not yet developed the easy facility to express that on paper. But, once again, if I don't start now how will I ever be able to progress towards that?

Yesterday I was in a book store and I came across a book which talked and demonstrated how to create your own drawing journal of scenes in nature. I only had a few minutes to scan it and I had the impression that the author / artist included a number of drawings from children and adolescents and adults who were new to artistic endeavors. I liked what I saw. I could see myself doing that.

As I was driving away I started saying to myself things like: "if they can do it, I can too." But the real content of my thought went to wondering where I / we get off track with these things. Yes, it's a skill, but if children and teenagers can do it, why can't I?

Then today as I was talking with someone who has difficulty remembering peoples faces, and how that creates enormous social anxiety at times, I remembered a quote from Frederick Franck about how no one really sees anything until they draw it.

I then reached out and opened one of his books: The Zen of Seeing: Seeing / Drawing as meditation and the first thing I saw was the following quote (in the context of his starting a drawing seminar with a new group of people in 1973):

" that first lecture I asked the rhetorical question Who Is Man, The Artist? and answered it by saying: He is the unspoiled core of everyman, before he is choked by schooling, training, conditioning until the artist_within shrivels up and is forgotten. Even in the artist who is professionally trained to be consciously "creative" this unspoiled core shrivels up in the rush toward a "personal style," in the heat of competition to be "in."

And yet, I added, that core is never killed completely. At times it responds to Nature, to beauty, to Life, suddenly aware again of being in the presence of a Mystery that baffles understanding and which only has to be glimpsed to renew our spirit and to make us feel that life is a supreme gift. Many years of preoccupation with Zen have kept me awake to the experience of this opening up of life.

I suddenly noticed that the strangers' faces in front of me began to look less strange. I was making contact, and encouraged by this rapport, I forgot my carefully hatched lecture and started to talk freely about seeing, about drawing as "The Way of Seeing," about something I called SEEING / DRAWING ( I coined that on that spot), and about this SEEING / DRAWING as a way of meditation, a way of getting into intimate touch with the visible world around us, and through it...with ourselves."

What a wonderful invitation to seeing, to fresh beginnings.