Drawing as Meditation
I am really keen on the idea of ‘art’ being a tool for self expression and for connecting our inner and outer worlds in deep and personal ways. By using it to explore our feelings it can be a valuable method of self-discovery and self expression. Using drawing in this way encourages a very intense way of seeing which usually leads to a deep state of relaxed concentration. By focusing intently on a subject to the point of generating alpha waves, we start to feel a connection that goes beyond just sight. This is a very similar state to meditation, which has been proven to promote both mental and physical health. Linear time disappears as our minds become occupied with the drawing, and we escape from our daily worries and concerns. Anyone can do this. You don’t need to be able to draw at all, but you do have to be prepared to focus all your attention on one small, complicated thing for a short time, say ten minutes. Works produced in this way have a pure, strangely beautiful quality of line. Sometimes they can be very accurate in a technical; sense too, but this is not necessarily the aim. So, find something small and complicated that you can hold comfortably in your non- drawing hand. Maybe a flower, or a walnut. Take a few deep breaths and tell yourself that the actual drawing doesn’t matter as much as the time you’re going to invest in yourself. Put your pencil on the paper and don’t take it off until you have finished. Gaze at the subject until you can see a shape in the middle of it…. don’t be tempted to draw an outline. Start to draw the shape, then the shape next to it, then the one next to that……. do this very carefully, very slowly and as carefully and intently as you possibly can. This form of meditation is unique in that you have an end product – the drawing. It will be a record of the precious time you have spent in an altered state of mind. It will record where you were distracted and where you were completely absorbed. When you were stuck and analysing too much, and when you were free. With practice your drawings will become a more and more accurate reflection of the subject, but that’s not the aim of the exercise. The only aim is to experience freedom.