Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Engaging Analog Drawings"

These are some of my 18"x 24" Analog Drawings made today non-stop one after another.   In total I drew 30 of them within a 4 hour session.  This is an exercise you can use to engage yourself back into working when you catch yourself obsessing over things which are unproductive.  

An analog drawing is a symbolic drawing expressing one's emotions, ideas, and feelings, often used to identify and help solve problems.  Betty Edwards (author of "Drawing on the Artist Within") calls this kind of automatic drawing "analog drawing." Whereas automatic drawing is about nothing in particular - just whatever the hand draws - an analog drawing is about a specific feeling.  It's still a completely free drawing. You just pick up a soft pencil and watch the marks your hand and pencil make on the paper. You're releasing all control.  (In my session today I used marking pens, crayons & colored pencils). 

The charged emotion in silencing creativity is "anxiety".  As artists, we have our individual coping mechanisms dealing with anxiety that take us away from working.  We sometimes call them "distractions" and they appear quite regularly in our daily life.    

Feeling tired of the business of working on non-art related details and attending to family affairs has created an imbalance in my world!   I am appreciating what small workspace I had and finding out how important making art really is in my life.   

Are you aware of feeling low, unproductive and  maybe obsessing?   Those thoughts.... large or small?  Obsessing over stuff -- the lighting in the studio, the location, the city,  the materials,  sensitivities, rejection, the work, bad review, finances -or---- maybe distracting with social media, television, controlling others (haha!), or overdoing in some area other than in the studio?  There are always more things that clog up our mind than we'd like to admit --and these thoughts create worry, anxiety and loss of focus.  

Can you get a grip on your mind and let go of small thoughts?  Eastern philosophy and Western psychology have both addressed the issues of the 'mind' and taming it through regular meditation, relaxation techniques, Yoga, physical exercise to gently bring the mind and thoughts back to center and back to our comfort zone.  

Are you finding it challenging to return to a comfortable place in life due to changing situations good or not so good?  Sometimes it happens you know  -- and a drag to admit!  Do you have a practice or discipline to commit to your working sessions whether you're making fantastic work or feeling bored, tired, uninspired, frustrated, or anxious?

At the moment I am living a very unstructured life and very busy with the long and lingering details of my upcoming move to another city.   The absence of routine for a certain length of time can become unnerving.  My weeks are consistent for only one week at a time -- flipping from one home-base to another!  I found myself obsessing over the frustration of not being able to paint!  After a week of ignoring the urge to do something, today I made up my mind that I would engage in a positive obsession -- sketching anything that came to mind (analog drawings)!  Fueled by the desire to paint, I shut out the anxiety  (and pressure to make studies)...and with much patience I reached the trance state of working.  It doesn't necessarily happen with only doing important or meaningful work.  It happens when we engage long enough to let it happen.  Not different than the state of watching our in and out breath during meditation and floating in that space between the breath or that space between our thoughts.  

I combined the technique of using Analog Drawings with a non-stop drawing session where you continue to work with a stack of paper and drawing tools for a specific amount of time.  In most analog drawing sessions you use a soft pencil and a smaller sheet of paper for direct problem solving (and usually in smaller increments of time).   In these drawings there is a spiraling affect of chaos and order, attempt at a new pattern emerging,  energy going up and down, harmony & complexities in color usage,  tightness in the loops, going thru a tunnel with twists & turns, and some looping out of order which signals the upcoming changes in the next chapter of my life.  

Can you differentiate what drags you away from the work?  Paying attention to your responses and taking action leads us back to the same 'ole cliche -- - "showing up"!   

Thanks for stopping by and reading about my process.   Your comments here are always welcomed and appreciated!  

You may want to engage yourself in a 'free' non-thinking analog drawing session!  It's a good way to produce energy to revivify your work...and it helps one sift through unproductive thinking.  

If you're living a confiscated life --- Jung says....

"It would be far better simply to admit our spiritual poverty...
when spirit becomes heavy, it turns to water...
Therefore, the way of the soul...leads to the water."



  2. Thanks for posting this. I've started doing an analog drawing a day - and I feel more confident :)
    Yea! You might enjoy this charity based in the UK: