Drawing Calm

I find calm in the tip of a pencil. I always have. Once that pencil hits a blank white piece of paper and I see a small dot that transforms into a line my heart rate eases. It has always been this way. Even as a young girl when we would travel somewhere in a plane and the turbulence would start to jolt me, and my mom would grab my arm in  panic I would open my sketchbook and start to draw, everything would fall away. I got lost in the drawing in the process, in the unfolding.

I know for many people the thought of drawing itself can cause the opposite of calm and peace but can instill terror at the thought of drawing something, anything. For the past 20 plus years I have been helping people feel less fear when they pick up a pencil and start to draw. With the refrain of, " I am scared to draw" following me I felt compelled to change people's narratives in their head and replace that fear with a sense of possibility. I feel this urgency now more than ever. The need to turn off...

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Making Mistakes

 

If there is one thing I know it is that when you are engaged in the creative process then you need to get comfortable making mistakes and working with them. You never know where a mistake can lead you. What you may think is a mistake may be a pathway to a whole new discovery in your artistic process.

As the writer Annie Lamott says:

“Here's how to break through the perfectionism: make a LOT of mistakes. Fall on your butt more often. Waste more paper, printing out your shitty first drafts, and maybe send a check to the Sierra Club. Celebrate messes--these are where the goods are.”

It is scary to make a mess—a mess of your life when you know something is wrong—a mess with your art work—getting down and dirty with your work and getting lost in the chaos to come our of the other side with a piece that is dynamic and the way that you want it. Mistakes and messiness force you to be in an unknown territory. You don’t know what the outcome will be and...

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Make Your Mark

 

It is a small but powerful act. One that everyone can do. Drawing. It is a pencil, ballpoint pen, charcoal on paper. It is a mark in the sand, chalk on the sidewalk. Drawing, is a visual language. Making marks on a surface is a truly democratic activity, something that everyone regardless of age, culture, socio-economic status can take part in. So why is there so much fear and anxiety about the process? If I talk to most people about drawing I usually hear, “oh I couldn’t draw a straight line.” This comment always stuns me and inside my head I think, “what artist cares about drawing a straight line when they draw? Drawing is not about making straight lines. There is no judge going around with a ruler saying, “okay you can draw, your line is straight.” The world of drawing and the process of drawing as it unfolds is infinite. Drawings are as varied as the world of ideas and thoughts. A series of random lines, dots and dashes arranged in a...

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What is Creativity?

 

The Drawing Lab is a space and an approach where everyone is invited to jump into the creative process. Allowing the creative process into your life is essential but so many people are so scared to jump into the unknown. Creativity is something that everyone can access even in small ways. But people's fear of "making mistakes" and not being perfect can get in the way. 

After hearing the constant refrain, “Well I can’t even draw a straight line” whenever I said I was an artist I decided to combine my love of drawing with my passion for teaching and became what I call a "Drawing Activist." I want to change the world one pencil at a time.

When I was getting my Masters degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education I took a course on Creativity with Professor Howard Gardner. He spoke about "big C" creativity and "little c" creativity. The artist Pablo Picasso and the novelist Jane Austen were artists that achieved "big C" creativity they...

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