Lesson #2: DRAW FROM THE FEAST!
So you drew up a chair…maybe several times this week. Yay! Hooray!! And I hope you were able to do some drawing or sketching, swooshing a bit of color around on the page. I think several of you drew chairs…that’s totally awesome!! Perhaps at some point you began to wonder, “OK. What now?” “What do I draw? What do I want to put in this little book of my life?”
You may not realize it, but every time you sit down (or find yourself already sitting); every time you stop the whirl of activity and just notice what’s going on around you…THERE’S A FEAST right there in front of you, in you, all around you. It’s at your disposal to drink in, to draw from (HA! love that), to record in images and words in your sketchbook.
*No matter how normal or mundane the items surrounding you may seem, they are fantastic fodder for drawings. Look around you, look down at your feet, look up to the sky/ceiling…SO MUCH TO DRAW right within arms reach. Then open a cabinet or two, draw the jumble of stuff in your closet, or garage, or under a bed.
*Step outside…draw the birds, flowers, weeds at your door. These three bushes “live” at the top of my neighborhood. I created different versions of them here and here, oh and here and here too!. So many beautiful things to capture in your sketchbook! To jot down in lines or colors. To create in cut or torn papers. To say to yourself and any you might allow to view your sketches: “I see the little beauties in my day and I’m not letting them go unnoticed!” But beyond what we can see in the world around us, there’s so so much more of the Feast from which to draw:
*Draw from your Inner Well. Your emotions at any given moment are perfect to try and get down in a sketchbook. Am I content right now? Am I agitated about something? Am I fearful, worried, or angry? Am I pleased as punch? Why? Draw and paint these things. You might actually draw the thing that makes you feel a certain way, OR you can create an abstract sketch of what that emotion feels like. You might even enjoy creating a character who is “you”, who can be drawn to represent these things. This is how Genevieve came about for me.
*Draw from your Thoughts. Are you thinking about the to-do list for your day? Draw the list and the items on it. Is there a poem you’ve come across that you love? Maybe a poem you yourself wrote? Write it in your sketchbook and make little pictures or swaths of color that go with that poem. Is there a quote you’re particularly fond of? Write it out, illustrate it. When I was a young girl I kept a book of favorite poems and quotes along with small cut out pictures from magazines that I thought illustrated the quotes. I still have these and love to see what I was “drawn to” then. Working out your thoughts and emotions in a sketchbook is a terrific way of dealing with them, and even making sense of them.
*Draw from your Dreams. Both the dreams you have while sleeping AND the dreams you have for the future make wonderful subjects for your book. The above drawing is based on a recurring dream I had as a little girl. You can read about it here.
*Draw from your Past. In you resides a vast amount of experiences! Events from your childhood, career milestones, parenting, travels, or ANYTHING that makes up your history…these are rich soil for drawings and paintings in your sketchbook. You can even devote a whole book to one particular subject. I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina and spent every summer on the stage of the outdoor drama, Horn in the West. Read more about that here if you’d like.
*Draw from your Opinions. Fill in the blank…I love ______. I do not like______. I hate______. Be it political or food, places or events, your opinion about something is worth getting down. Choose lines, colors and papers that are in keeping with your feelings about those things. You can probably guess that’s me on the left with my oldest daughter as we’re kissing our ukuleles! We love playing ukuleles!
The smorgasbord of your life, no matter how simple or boring you think it might be, is truly rich and wonderful! It’s all there when you draw up a chair. All you need is to take the time to survey the feast in front of you and in you. You need a sketchbook and pen. Perhaps some color too. You might not see the vast array of richness yet. Drawing will help uncover it for you. Start with what you can see. Draw it. Capture it in lines and color. If you’re stumped for how to go about making marks on a page, try Bert Dodson’s book Keys to Drawing. It will cover practically everything you need in the technique department. But really…you can just draw! No need for getting bogged down with how-tos. Just draw.
And the more you draw…more of the Feast will appear. Simply by drawing and drawing…you will uncover more and more things to draw and paint in your book. Drawings beget drawings, I say.
A Blessing: May you have eyes to see the Feast that is your life. May your eyes be freshly reawakened to the Beauty that surrounds you in your everyday world. May you be able to see and accept the vast experiences and emotions in your life as part of this Feast. May your Dreams and well-guarded past be allowed to play in the world of line and color.
***Access all Mini Lessons for Drawing Your Life at the top of the home page on my blog! (OR just click the highlighted words in blue!)