Draw something, anything!

Saturday December 28, 2013

One of my favourite books that I return to again and again is Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory. I love his pearls of wisdom on page 16:

"We can't control what life deals us, just how we respond to it. And if we are monomaniacally focused on the bad stuff, we are missing the beauty of a half-eaten apple, the sunshine on the bedspread, the smell of warm cookies. This is an important but slippery lesson and I have had to learn it again and again."

Drawing can help us to untie the ribbons and open the gifts that each day bears. If there is anything that has helped me look, and I mean really look and see, it's been having a few Life Drawing classes over the years.

What's really interesting is that when I've drawn stuff in my journal, as opposed to writing about it, I can return to that moment, sometimes years later, with far greater recall than reading my words. No wonder then that Danny Gregory has also researched the wonders that drawing can do for the memory.

It's difficult to read any of Danny's books or blogs and not be inspired to pick up a pencil or pen and draw something. Anything!

Ah, but right now, many of you are thinking "But I can't draw!", "I don't have the time!" or "How can this help a low mood anyway?"

Well, drawing can take us to the 'flow state' - the perceptual, right hand side of the brain - that blissful garden in the frantic city of the mind where things are calmer, quieter and the outside chatter is stilled. Noticing the way the light casts shadows on a creased and crumpled napkin or your china cup, or listening to the sound of your pencil on quality paper, it's all cathartic.

As for not having the time, don't allow your mind to to trick you into believing that you must set aside a whole afternoon, have the 'proper' equipment or accomplished all "to-dos" first. No! You could draw something right now. Give yourself two minutes of noticing something and sketching it - your cats paw, an electrical plug or your Aunty Nellie snoozing in her chair. We don't have to be Vincent van Gogh to open our eyes and see shade, texture and colour.

And finally, if you are one of the many who say 'I can't draw!' remember Michelangelo's words: "What the eye can see the hand will draw". The trouble is, is that we don't give our eyes the chance to 'see'. We tend to dwell in the left, logistical side of the brain, concentrating on the drawing and on what we think it ought to look like. Look at the object, not your drawing.

The result? "The weight of sadness was in wonder lost." - William Wordsworth.

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