Art school is wonderful, but it can train the inner editor to become a screaming red-faced drill-sergeant. This inner editor paralyses gesture, squashes creativity, and inhibits intuition. So this morning, I attempted to calm it a little…
Cells, pulsars, rings of life, circles of life, interconnectedness, geodes, space travel….
Choose the ink that calls you. Don’t overthink it. Let your mind be loose. Let your hand be loose. Let your eyes be loose.
Don’t worry if it’s been done before. Don’t worry if those three blog-followers think it sucks.
This practice is about process, not product.
A friend commissioned me to illustrate an inside joke for her.
The story goes that the two women were deliriously sleep-deprived and sick as they were driving along in the countryside. One threw a banana peel out the window and cried “Au revoir, petite banane!” and they soon heard the loud SPLAT of the peel hitting a rock wall. Laughter ensued for miles.
Their mouths hang open gently, their eyes flick back and forth, and their pencils move slowly across the page.
Earlier that day, their teacher and I discussed how unfocused and distracting this group of students can be, but right now, I am witnessing these boys in the zone. Stephen Nachmanovitch, author of Free Play, might say that they were “disappearing” into the work. By disappearing, Nachmanovitch explains, “Mind and sense are arrested for a moment, fully in the experience. Nothing else exists. (…) Attention and intention fuse.”1 They are so immersed in their work that I am inspired to draw them, and I become similarly absorbed.
Later, in the next class, a student sees my sketch. She asks me about it and when I explain the moment to her, she says, “Yeaaaah, well good thing you drew it because that’s something you’re probably not gonna see again.”
1 Stephen Nachmanovitch, Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art (New York: Tarcher/Putnam, 1990), 51.