In my last post, I mentioned the idea of inner language. I first understood this notion when I engaged in a drawing process that I think of as a kind of meditation. There is a great deal of information on meditation out in the world....on the internet, in books, recordings, etc. Recently, I found a nice explanation and guide to the process here.
The idea is to let go of any concern with results, as you are not engaged in making art, per se. Sit alone, in a quiet space with a piece of paper and a pen...or pencil or ink filled brush. Be somewhat still and focused for just a few moments while you let your hand move where it will. In a more traditional form of meditation you might focus on your breath as you breath in and then out...but it in this case, you watch, in a detached way, as your hand goes where it will. If you are one with the moment, you will know when to stop....it's not a process of thinking, but a process of "knowing" from a place deep within. Letting go in this way is very relaxing, even for just a few moments and while it is not about "liking" or "not liking" any particular drawing, I believe that if you do this for a number of days, you will begin to see that the marks you make....the marks on the page that come straight from you as easily as your breathing, are a part of you, syllables of a language that is yours alone. This can be very powerful and over time, allow you to trust your instincts....in the studio and perhaps in life.
I never know when I sit down what will emerge in those few moments of drawing, but often I am delighted and always I feel a moment of satisfaction, of grounding and of peace. Sometimes the observer in me will see something that will come into play in a future artwork...perhaps some way of placing this next to that on the page, or a different way of mark making that seems ripe for exploration. Maybe you'll notice that those trees from November 20th showed up in this longer drawing I made yesterday, shown below.
I have been doing this daily drawing process pretty steadily, with different materials, for a number of years. When I stray away and don't do them for awhile, I begin to feel a bit lost and it doesn't take long to realize that I need to get myself grounded once again with the daily drawing practice. I began listing my daily drawings in my Etsy shop as a way to share them with the world. Over time, I have heard from many folks that they communicate in ways that are profound and that people find meaning and their own delight in having them. That means a great deal to me on many levels. It also reminds me that we communicate with one another in countless ways, but that drawing has a power to reach places that words cannot.
I hope you'll try this process and see if you don't find it rewarding. I'd love to hear from you with your thoughts!
Happy Thanksgiving to friends near and far!