Blog

Always wanted to learn how to draw?

Have you ever tried blind contour drawing? Creative play this week is about working from the “right” side of your brain.

Find a piece of paper and something to draw with. This will take about 10 minutes.

Place your non-dominant hand, for me it is my left, on the table.  Starting at your wrist begin to slowly draw your hand without looking at your paper or letting your drawing instrument (a.k.a your pencil) lift from your paper.  You might want to secure your paper to the table with a bit of tape or a paper weight.  Now, before you begin, ask yourself, “Is there any possible way that what you draw will actually look like your hand?” The answer, probably not.  But if you take it slow, notice all the lines in your fingers, on your palm, in the joints and knuckles, you will begin to relax and actually start to draw what you see as opposed to what you think you see (or what your “hurry up get this over with” rational left brain is telling you).

blind contour drawing

Interested in learning more about drawing?  I highly recommend “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards.  It is a classic and is full of really amazing exercises that will move you along quickly.  Incidentally, even though I paint abstract, this switch over in my brain is where I go and want to be when I’m in the “flow,” so learning about being in this space is kind of magic.

Enjoy and share your “handy” work with us.

“Creative muscles”

Do you feel like something is missing?  I do, or I did.

Beauty is being fully alive!I take pretty good care of myself, I’m a yogi and I’ve learned that to deal with stress I need to move my body, eat good things, get some sleep, and plan for a little down time.  January always reminds me that self-discipline is essential.  I look forward to the renewal of my regime after all the holiday ruckus and overload (which I also think is essential).  I’m back to a regular practice, eat my oatmeal and hemp hearts, and back off on the indulgences.  However, for years I felt like I was striving for something that no amount of exercise or green veggies could satisfy.  Like there was a part of me still lacking.  I figured it out.It took some time to embrace the idea because of GUILT.   It is self-indulgent, could be seen as a waste of time, not very “productive” and brought (brings) me a whole bunch of joy.

Creativity.

It is relevant in January to talk about flexing or stretching muscles.  I’m not sure who coined the phrase “flexing your creative muscles,” but they were on to something. Strengthening, lengthening, becoming aware of, moving, exercising all that creative energy that each and every one of us possess is essential and it takes some discipline.  We need (underscore) an outlet for it.  It needs to come to the surface, for me and I bet for you.

It is key to my happiness therefore key to my health.

If the prospect of being happier and healthier doesn’t win you over, here is some of my research; creativity in your business, workplace, and relationships is the most essential resource you have leading to greater productivity and a better ability to solve problems.

Art- making (and you can define that in so many way) lights our fires, gets the juices flowing, gives us energy, makes us do the happy dance, propels us forward, and moves us out of our comfort zones.

Alright, enough already, you might be saying, “I don’t draw.”

Art-making comes in many shapes and forms.   Seth Godin wrote a whole book about it, “The Icarus Deception.”

“Seizing new ground, making connections between people or ideas, working without a map – these are works of art and if you do them, you are an artist, regardless of whether you wear a smock, use a computer, or work with others all day long.”  Seth Godin

 

Doing something new is proven to spark creativity.

I am so sold, so passionate about how fundamentally important it is for human beings to play, to create, and to make stuff for no other reasons than to connect with others and fuel our own happiness – when I think about it, in my late night, deeply philosophical moods, it is what makes us human.

We have a gift – go out and play!  And then move out of your comfort zone and share it, it inspires us all.

Namaste.
Marlene

 

A little bit more . ..

Words  “You are what you practice most.” Richard Carlson

Read “The Icarus Deception” Seth Godin

TED  Doodlers, Unite – Sunni Brown

Music   Norweigan Recycling – “Miracles” a mashup

IMG_0955

BIG picture POV

I used to paint in a small room.  I would sit on an apple box, often up close to the canvas.  The most distance I would have between canvas and me was about 6′ if I leaned back on the counter behind me.
I loved my space.  It was mine. It was messy, warm and my husband installed great speakers so that I could fill the room with sound and sing along sometimes.I never had to clean it up.  I just would walk away, shut the door.  I could get lost in there.Me, the paint and the canvas.

However, sometimes I’d be too close.  There were times when I needed to stand back a little. Take a look from a different view or angle.  I paint in oil so moving wet pieces out into the rest of the house is not an option.

I’d take a photo.   It was an instant snapshot of my work.  As soon as I’d see the image on the small lcd screen, I’d see it differently.  It was simplified.  I could see the lights, the darks and the big shapes, the overall if you will.

underpainting
adding colour
underpainting
adding colour
My life is like this.  My lists of to do’s, commitments, busyness are all good, meaningful, rewarding, and often fun.  BUT, I can overwork it, get stuck in just one area, get tight, and forget about the whole.How to take a snapshot of my life?My Strategies – meditation, planning, day dreaming (yup), tapping into how I’m actually feeling (crazy, I know), spending the time to make timelines, going outside, trying something completely new, getting on my mat –

Then I can get back down into the process, open the door to my messy space and relax in the moment to moment, in the creation….

AND the most effective tool I’ve got, using GRATITUDE as my wide angle lens.

I know paint in a large studio and still take photos of my work – I swear that gratitude creates a big picture pov on life and is responsible for the bigger studio space and the opportunities to continue to share my passions.

Namaste
Marlene

“It’s all just an underpainting until it is done.”  Marlene Lowden

Work in Progress

 

This is a 60” x 60” blank canvas, or it was.
Questions.  How do I start?  Do I have an idea in my head, an image?
This canvas had no direction, no inspiration, no ideas.  I just started.  I needed to do.  In this case I pick up some payne’s gray and some orange and began working with big brushes and big movements.  I needed to paint because it had been awhile, I’m sure you can relate if there is something in your life that you love doing but it happens sporadically.  My husband has caught onto the effect that a blank canvas has on my psyche, therefore he doesn’t mind wandering the isles at Opus, he encourages it.Back to painting.Imperfect action is something I strive for when I paint.  Really, I do.  I want to capture energy, freedom, pure expression and that requires letting go.  I switch my brushes every few minutes, I mix my own colours quickly, often on the wet canvas, I paint with my left hand, purposely going the opposite direction that I’ve been working.  In the beginning stages, I flip the canvas around working from a different point of view.  I flick paint, splatter (everything), and love drips.   I do the happy dance over freakedly awesome “mistakes.”  I’ve even closed my eyes when I’ve felt stuck.
My resistance to painting comes when I know I have a time constraint.  And when I’m in the “zone” it is painful to leave early.  When I’m “there” it is freedom, it is timeless, it is joy, contentment, it is childlike, it is addicting.  Is that bad?  Not sure.  It certainly is not perfection, getting it right, being on target, controlled, or disciplined.  I react to what is there, I respond to what I see and not what I think I see or wanted to see in the first place.  I continue to work like this as much as possible – allowing the painting to unfold, ideas begin to generate about what colour to add or take away, what shapes are working for me and which ones are not.

Playful. Fearless. Freedom.Imperfect action.

So I’ll practice.  I’ll paint more, I’ll pick up the pen, return the call, press send, share how I feel, unroll my mat, walk out the front door, dance, make a multitude of mistakes, be vulnerable and share my work in progress with you.

Namaste.

Marlene

“It’s all just an underpainting until it is done.”Marlene Lowden