Drawing as a practice

So what do I mean by drawing as a practice?

When lockdown began I was very glad to have drawing as a pastime. The immediate environment had become so small and many usual ways of spending time were no longer available. But drawing encourages engagement with your immediate environment, whatever that happens to be. I could sit on my steps and draw the weeds growing in the cracks, or attempt to draw the complex shadows on the ceiling in my bedroom. Wherever my eye fell, I could pick up paper and some kind of pencil or pen and draw, without expectation of judgement or success or failure.

I have included some examples above, from my lockdown sketchbook but they are just to show the kind of drawings I am talking about. The meaning for me of drawing being a practice is that I’m not doing it for the end result, though sometimes I am quite happy with the drawings I produce, but I am doing for that time when I am engaged in observations and mark making. The time is characterised by a kind of gentle and wordless visual thinking.

It is this that leads me to describe it as a mindful practice. We are present in what we are doing, thinking about it wordlessly, free of a fear of judgement, engaged with the practice of drawing.

That freedom from a fear of judgement is important. I will be teaching you to draw and also, critically, to lose that fear of your work being judged. Drawing as a practice means it doesn’t matter what people think because you are doing it for you, for that time spent working.

Lockdown may be coming to an end, but many of us are still looking for ways to enjoy what we have. As well as exploring this view of drawing as mindfulness and a practice, I will be teaching drawing observation and technique, because it can be frustrating not to be able to achieve what you want to achieve. And we will of course end up with some beautiful end products, some lovely drawings.

But the reason for doing it is to develop a drawing practice and to enjoy time spent in mindful observation of and engagement with our immediate environments. If you think this is of interest, please do join me for a free taster lesson by following this link to register.

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