Drawing and the process of mindful art in nature

SITTING TO DRAW

Drawing is a form of meditation. Even though using a pen is not the easiest option, I really like the effect of biro on paper, so the effort is worth it.

With every hour that goes into a picture, I see mistakes and ways of improving. This means that, despite the flaws, I feel content.

At the same time, sitting for long periods is a pain in the arse (and hip, lower back…_ so when I can’t bear the stiffness any longer I leave the drawing aside to go and do something else.

YOGA AND ART ARE SIMILAR

Yoga is similar to making art. It is a practice that focuses the mind, keeps you calm, and enhances your life more the more the time you devote to it.

I strongly believe in quality over quantity, especially for those of us who live with fibromyalgia, arthritis, or similar conditions. Consistenccy matters. Even 15 minutes every day works wonders.

ART, SELF-CARE, AND SUMMER.

Taking photos in nature is fun too, but I get more of a kick from pen and paper. Drawings have a ‘wow’ factor and to make one is a slow process that takes time and intense concentration. Art-making in this way is an act of self care when combined with mindful breathing: it serves as a balm in a world of instant gratification, capitalism, and speed.

It is starting to feel like Summer in Ireland, and this is when I like drawing most, because I can do it outside. The house is surrounded by energetic birds, and listening to them sing as I work is pure bliss. It is such a priviliege to be surrounded by the glowing vibrancy of trees.

THE MYTH OF ‘PERFECT’

As for the inner critic, like many other people I have one who tries to squat in my head every now and then. Over the years I learned to silence that voice and keep doing what I enjoy while embracing the process. Sometimes drawing becomes a finished piece, more often it does not.

The same can be said for writing, and yet every word matters. All is development and practice, all is creativity in motion, and perfection is a myth: only nature has that going on.

I’ll just keep writing and drawing to see what emerges. Alan Lee sums it up this aspect of the creative life nicely:

I keep drawing the trees, the rocks, the river, I’m still learning how to see them; I’m still discovering how to render their forms. I will spend a lifetime doing that. Maybe someday I’ll get it right.”  

Till next time…

-Kathryn.

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