This idea of drawing as a meditative process is becoming addictive…I’m discovering new layers of joy and liberation in not having to look at the page. I’ve drawn like this many times before but to see it as a form of meditation has added a new dimension…reckless abandon is what I’m aiming for…..
There is much being spoken at the moment around the subject of such things as ‘mindfulness’, ‘living in the moment’ ‘the value of living in the ‘now”. As our lives become potentially busier and access to information and online social media reaches giddier heights, there are many who are also seeking ways to counteract this and maintain a sense of balance. Never before has there been a greater need for us to find ways to still ourselves, to learn to swim confidently in this sea of information and connectedness. Don’t get me wrong, I love what the internet can offer by way of information and social connection but it can be overwhelming when we add it to lives that are filling up with activity and workaholism. In the last six or seven years I have become increasingly aware of my own need to ‘be still’ ; to find ways to quiet my mind. I have tried, failed, sometimes made progress and learned loads, by talking to others, reading, praying, listening….
I have recently become more aware of the contemplative value of drawing. The simplicity of using a mark making tool with which to simply, make marks. To have no agenda, or finished article in mind but to playfully make marks whilst focusing carefully on what is in front of me. I do not always look at the page. In fact it helps enormously if I don’t. The marks are a direct response to what I am observing. The process means I have to focus on this one thing. The connection between eye and hand is not interrupted by distracting thoughts. It would seem that the combination of looking AND making marks is a strong bond. It is also a way, for me, of connecting with nature, for this is usually my chosen subject. There is so much about our current age that only acknowledges the shallow surface of anything. Quick fixes and short span of attention. How can we experience real connectedness if we don’t allow time to absorb the things we want to be connected with. Dennis Creffield (artist) once said “I find drawing extremely difficult. I don’t do it because I enjoy it. But because it’s the only way I can understand things” My experience is similar, I too find the act of drawing (particularly from observation) hard work and completely absorbing but at the end of it I feel as if I know what it is I have been drawing, a little better than before. Drawing helps to anchor something into yourself. Therefore my connection with nature is strengthened when I take time to draw her. This contemplative activity of drawing without looking at the page, allows me to be still and to feel rooted and at peace. The marks I make are not so much a representation of what something looks like but perhaps more a representation of its ‘spirit’ or essence. To look at something deeply is not common practice. We generally take a quick glance, sometimes a second glance if it catches our eye but rarely do we look at something for longer than a few seconds. I wonder how we would be changed if we really gazed at beauty.