Lesson #12: Be A Beginner…Always!
For our FINAL lesson in this series on Drawing Your Life, we come full circle to where we began. This actually is the KEY to continuing. The WAY to keep on chronicling and celebrating your life in a sketchbook is to ALWAYS be a BEGINNER.
Life has a way of upsetting the cart so-to-speak. We’ll be in a groove of regular drawing in our sketchbook and wham…something happens that interrupts that flow. Work, relational needs, circumstances can come crashing in on our good habits we’ve worked hard to establish. And when the air clears, the fog lifts, or the dust settles from whatever it was that interrupted our habit; we can find it VERY DIFFICULT to start again.
This is when we need to have the grace to be a BEGINNER. To Draw Up A Chair once again, in the midst of our lives no matter the rubble around us, the altered terrain, or the fresh page; it requires a humility and willingness to start all over.
Think back to when you first began to make art or to keep a sketchbook of your life. Maybe it was only recently. Maybe it was years ago. Remember the excitement…the curiosity… the gotta-find-out-all-I-can-about-it attitude… the thrill of putting pen (or pencil, or paint) to paper … the fun of it all even though you had no idea whether you were “good at it” or not… the wanna learn, wanna be, wanna do, insatiable appetite. Somehow, you have to get back there. You have to regain at least some of that Beginner’s Mindset.
Life’s interruptions deal a hard blow to our enthusiasm. In response to trying to begin again, we may find ourselves saying: I’m tired. I won’t be as good at drawing as I was. I’m out of the habit. I’m weary. It’ll be boring. It’ll take so much of my time. Life’s too heavy.
The thing about the above responses, is that they are merely blocks. Creative blocks are very real, powerful forces to be reckoned with. But if you will recognize them as “blocks”, rather than “truths”, you may be able to see them as something you can actually blast through with a little enticement.
*Tired? Weary? Draw what it feels like to be tired. Draw what’s making you weary.
*Afraid you’re not as good at it? Grant yourself grace to be a KID again, to be on the starting block. And watch how quickly you move right back into where you left off…only with new eyes.
*Out of the habit? Set yourself a goal to DOODLE once a day. Doesn’t matter if it’s in a sketchbook or not. Just one Doodle a day. Keep them. Collect them. Then collage them onto the first page of a new sketchbook (or the page where you left off before Life took over.)
*Bored? Think of something you haven’t tried, or haven’t done much and give it a go in your sketchbook. If you were drawing in pen before Life’s interruption; then switch to colored pencils or markers. Try it all! Make use of time you may be doing something else. The above sketch was made WHILE WATCHING the Tour de France one year…having to catch images as they flew by on the screen was definitely NOT boring!
*Takes too much time? Hogwash. Do the Daily Doodle. OR sit down to draw for 5 minutes only. I have a feeling you’ll find you sit for longer than that without even realizing it! Draw during the “margins” of your life…the waiting rooms, the soccer games, the staff meetings, etc. You’ll be amazed how much time you actually DO have to draw, if you look for the odd minutes stashed here and there.
*Everything feels too heavy? Make pages that feel light and airy…marks that are ephemeral and joyful. Or, if it feels like it would be cathartic: Make pages that feel heavy…marks that seem laden with the gravity and burden you’re carrying. Who knows? You just might be able to move some of that heaviness out onto the page instead of lugging it around.
***Maintaining a Beginner’s Mindset will keep you happily Drawing Your Life. And it will have the added bonus of keeping you from becoming too “big for your britches” as we say ’round here. Even if you’re a professional artist whose list of accomplishments and sales reaches the ceiling, even YOU will benefit from remaining a BEGINNER at heart!!
A Final Blessing:
“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing”
― Camille Pissarro
It is my sincere hope, that you will begin again and again to LOOK FOR and DRAW the beauty in your life!! My vision for you is this: with sketchbook in hand, you will comb through the weeds of your life, the unassuming, unattractive, unordinary places of your life, to see the richness that lies there. Like a kid learning a new step, playing with a new toy, discovering a new path, I pray that you’ll take hold of this endeavor with renewed fervor each day. May you grant yourself the grace to be a beginner…ALWAYS!
**All images in this post (with the exception of the above Genevieve drawing) are the Beginning Page(s) from several of my many sketchbooks! Even beginning a new sketchbook can be a “block” through which we have to blast! I’ve heard of some artists starting on the second page, just to bypass that “first-page fear”. Others just plow ahead, splash it on, get it going!
Just Begin. Again and Again.:)
THANK YOU for following along with these Mini Lessons on Drawing Your Life. I have loved every minute of crafting them and I hope you have/are/will continue to enjoy them as well. Remember: you can pop in to the series via the heading at the top of my blog titled “Drawing Your Life Mini Lessons”. Please revisit these lessons over and over again for renewed inspiration. Cheers and Happy Drawing!