Once upon a time . . .
. . . I believed I couldn’t draw.
People, including an art teacher, told me so. So, I stopped drawing. I never stopped WANTING to draw. I doodled incessantly in the margins of notebooks, on the backs of envelopes . . . and sometimes those doodles looked pretty interesting! I’d pull out a sketch pad and start trying to draw something — all the FEAR would come flooding back — I was paralyzed. If I did manage to make marks on paper I was SO disappointed . . . yuck, awful, horrible, what was I thinking?? Clearly I couldn’t draw. I would retreat back to those high-class coloring books from Dover — where I could let my highly-developed sense of color out to play on drawings made by someone who clearly DID know how to draw, someone talented.
I took up designing costumes, props and sets for theatre while in college. I had to *gulp* DRAW stuff . . . I cheated and found things similar to my idea that I could trace and adapt (this was long before personal computers). An interesting thing happened. My drawing got a little bit better – still not satisfactory, but not as awful.
One day, wandering in a second-hand bookshop, I discovered a dog-eared copy of Frederick Franck’s book The Zen of Seeing: seeing/drawing as meditation. I bought it because it was beautiful, intriguing — hand-written text and loose, evocative drawings. I read it cover to cover and then went back to the beginning and started to work with the ideas. I started to focus on what I was seeing instead of my fears about what my pencil was doing (or not doing). As I learned how to really see, I started to trust myself, to believe I might be able to coax what I saw to appear on the page.
I started to practice, to draw every day; not to make art, not to share; just to draw, for me . . . for that 15 year-old girl who had never stopped WANTING to draw. I improved. I kept drawing. I became less afraid of the pencil. I got brave enough, confident enough to draw in pen. I started traveling and drawing the places I visited. Drawing in public, where other people could see me. Nobody laughed at me. Some people even wanted to buy some of my drawings. What?? One afternoon in Greece, a woman handed me money as I gently cut a page out of my sketchbook. In that moment I finally accepted that I COULD draw.
Nowadays I draw a lot, and some days when I face a new project or idea that includes something I’ve never drawn before, I feel that fear, that tightness, a sort of rising panic that I will fail and people will laugh and say “Oh, she’s not really an artist.” Then I take a deep breath, I feel the fear, and I pick up the pencil and do it anyway.
I start by drawing the stupidest, most ridiculous looking whatever-it-is that I can. Then I do some research to truly SEE it. Then I draw some more. By purposely drawing badly at the start, I can only improve as I study my subject and learn the marks that will communicate the image I want to share. It always works.*if you are interested in overcoming your own “FEAR of the Pencil” – click here to find out about Erase FEAR of the Pencil! an online course, the next session starts April 30th.
I love the play of sunlight splashing through a trellised terrace roof onto these fabulous yellow lilies. There is an incandescence in both the yellow blooms and the green stalks that breathes the essence of vibrant life.
This time of year takes us outdoors more in the the Northern Hemisphere as we rush headlong towards the Summer Solstice and the longest day of the year.
Consider how you can immerse yourself in this vibrant light and color, not only by spending more time outdoors, but also how you can bring the energetic vibrations of these colors inside, into your everyday surroundings, into your creative practice . . .
Can you shine more light on your creativity?
Can you let new ideas bloom?
Can you find interesting counterpoints in the cool shadows?
A Lemon Peel Moon Floats Among the Dusky Violet Clouds
The boat is securely moored . . . sweet dreams are made of this.
Azalea and I want to invite you to give yourself the gift of time and space for Creativity this summer . . .
Admit it, this time of year your mental soundtrack includes “Schooooool’s OUT for Summer . . . .” and a host of other songs that remind you of days when SUMMER equaled FUN + TIME + FREEDOM. I know it’s true for me. I also know that even tho my work is ‘location independent’ I can’t just forget about it for the next 3 months (darn!)
The good news is that CREATIVITY is a lot like a summer holiday:
- it refreshes your body, mind and spirit
- it stretches time
- it’s full of spaciousness and discovery
- unexpected things happen
- it changes the way you interact with the world
- it makes you happier
So make a not-so-secret pact with yourself to let creativity play a leading role in the movie of your summer, you’ll be delighted at the changes that occur!
Want some support for your not-so-secret pact ?
A virtual Creative Retreat! It’s a place to encounter your muses, frolic with the Imaginary Menagerie and Free the Artist within!
Give your Creative Self the gift of ONE MONTH dedicated to creating. Whether you work with words, images or both . . . even if you are still in search of YOUR creative outlet . . . you’ll be gently supported to explore the possibilities. We’ll start each week with an invigorating Monday group session, followed by 3 creative prompts to play with during the week, sent with JOY from Azalea, the on-beyond-zebra + leader of the Imaginary Menagerie — delivered directly to your inbox each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Finally, you’ll get to schedule a one-to-one creative consultation session, 30 minutes of delicious, delightful possibility capturing to stir the creative pot!~4 weeks of creative exploration includes:
- 4 hour-long inspiration parties (held on Google+ hangouts)
- 12 creative prompt emails (3 per week)
- 1 personal pot-stirring session (you and me on Skype or Google+ for 30 minutes)
It’s a vacation you can take without leaving home and I promise it will be filled with Joy and Laughter, Curiosity and Creative Momentum.
We start July 1st — You can join the party HERE
The violet end of the rainbow spectrum traditionally invokes spirituality, passion, and royalty being one of the most difficult, and therefore costly, hues to reproduce. Despite out very best efforts, no one does the violet hues quite as well as Mother Nature. This lovely lavender-blue hyacinth is a case in point.
Whenever I see hyacinths I am reminded of one of Carl Sandburg’s definitions of poetry ”Poetry is a synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.” Here in Turkey hyacinths are plentifully planted perhaps in part due to this quote ”If I had but two loaves of bread, I would sell one and buy hyacinths, for they would feed my soul”. – Prophet Muhammad
How can you tap into the hues of violet to lighten your load, lift your heart and feed your soul? Take some time this week to look for lavender and her sisters, and explore and wax poetic with words and/or images.
BLUE is often associated with calmness, which is part of what fascinates me about this image . . . the dichotomy between the chaos created by the tangle of rope and the calm energy of the blue hue.
Playing with opposite energies and messages can be an interesting way to explore old territory in new ways.
This week, try it with blue. First make a list of all the things you associate with blue. Then pick one or two and play with creating some kind of dynamic tension, using the blue association in an unexpected way.
You might want to try this simple formula:
Blue is __________________
Blue is __________________
Blue is _________________, _________________, and _____________________.
Then write it again, this time filling in something opposite your original word for each blank — then play with THOSE associations and see what emerges.