Actually, sketching and doodling during business meetings helps me to focus and be present.
In this coming new year, one of my goals had been to do some sort of sketching each day. I have been hesitating in making a commitment to this goal because of the self-doubt that comes whenever I try to create in a medium in which I am not particularly adept. I know that this lack of confidence would become too burdensome and I would quickly drop the practice.
Then it occurred to me to try “zentangle” drawing because of an article I recently stumbled upon in Psychology Today on the psychological benefits of this type of doodling. Some might say that such drawings are not really “art,” but the final product is not the point of the activity. The point in creating these pen and paper doodles is to relax and de-stress. This is really the whole reason of my making this an evening after-work exercise. It has been a stressful 2018 and I don’t foresee 2019 being any different. So today, I have been exploring the basic techniques. Below is a video on what I want to someday achieve and after that is a basic tutorial I watched this morning.
Zentangle Time Lapse (about 2 minutes):
And a tutorial in case you are interested too (about 30 minutes):
Some creatives have talismans in their creative spaces. Many an artist or writer will waste time in searching for that “right” object to serve this function and even more time arranging their spaces around the object. They do all of this instead of arting or writing. I know this because I spent time rearranging my “dream corner” and finding the right place to put my dream catcher.
Another time-waster of creatives is engaging in some sort of “ritual” before sitting down to work. They dim the lights, light candles, fondle the aforementioned talisman (I DON’T do that with my dream catcher), make a whole ceremony over making a pot of tea (or pouring a few fingers of Scotch), and so on.
Again, I am guilty of that myself. For example, this morning, instead of working in my sketchbook which I vowed to do every morning, I wasted time doing an inventory and making a swatch list of all my colored pencils. Seriously.
Now I know some creatives will argue that their talismans and rituals are vital to their work. Some see their work spaces and times as sacred and thus requiring such objects and actions to sanctify them. I get that. I do. To me, the act of creating is a calling, a vocation. You must treat the work with respect and awe.
But I know for myself that such things can be massive time-wasters. I may do them because I don’t want to face the blank page or empty canvas. I do them because I am just lazy and would rather screw around on Facebook than sit down and work. Sometimes, I know the work is going to bring up uncomfortable emotional baggage. Who wants to experience that? All of us, if we want to live out our calling as creatives.
Don’t let your time-wasters divert you into becoming a master of the fine art of procrastination.
ljgloyd (c) 2018
I write, I cook, I drum. I should make a tee-shirt that says this.
I used to make art too — drawing and painting. I am not all that technically adept. My high school art teacher, way back when, called my work “painterly.” I think that was a nice way of saying that she did not expect to see any photo-realism coming from my brush or pens.
The consequence is that over the years I have not made as much art. That nagging inner critic works just as diligently with fine artists as she/he does with writers.
That being said, I have decided to branch away from my usual avenues of creative expression (writing, drumming, cooking, photographing) and work on improving my technical skills in the visual arts. I just started working with colored pencils (for the first time) since my home studio is not equipped to handle wet media. Furthermore, I need some practice with the most basic of subjects: humans.
To that end, here is a little study I did yesterday with pencils.
ljgloyd (c) 2018
I have not written much in the last couple of weeks, and you may notice that this post has nothing to do with the today’s prompt, “Congregate”. My absence is because I realized that I had not done any sort of painting or other visual art for months, if not a year. I started feeling the urge, but I kept telling myself I was too busy.
Then, this woman in the painting started bothering me. She skirted around the edge of my imagination whispering “Bring me to life. Paint me.” So I had to comply.
This is a collage of original painted elements assembled with some harder elements like feathers, tissue paper, and liquid gold and silver leaf. The painted parts are comprised of watercolor crayons, acrylic paint, colored pencils and ink, with some components on paper and the background on canvas.
I was re-organizing my art-making space and I came across this mixed media painting I did a couple of years ago. She is now overseeing my workspace. The painting is aptly entitled “Sophia”. Perhaps her presence will inspire me to conjure new work?
Ljgloyd c 2016, 2018
Express? You ask a bunch of writers and other creatives to respond to a prompt about expression? Oh, where do we start?
Let me just give you my basic definition of “express” as informed by my tradition: Humans are created in the image of God and as such we do what God does — we create. We express who we are by the act of creation. We have the divinely-appointed privilege of being used by the Great Creator to continue creating the world through our acts of self-expression.
Furthermore, we are blessed to sometimes create together in community. For example, recently I was engaged in a clay workshop where I and the two strangers on either side of me were instructed to create something — anything– out of a block of wet clay. We were asked to work together without speaking to each other. From this silent collaboration we created Estelle, a six-legged dinosaur.
I know, not particularly lofty and divine-like. But there is a place for whimsy as we create this world.
Whether whimsical or mind-shatteringly profound, we are called to find expression as part of our human condition.
I have an art journal which I use in part to work on techniques and experiment with new media and also a personal journal in visual form. For example, I went to the Museum of Latin American Art last week and was inspired by Frida Kahlo. My intention was simply to render a portrait of her with watercolor crayons. What came out was a mixed media piece that looks more like an icon of some Byzantine saint. How interesting is that? Here is a quick one-minute video of that process.