Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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“Let little people teach you the way of courage.  They know innately that too much thought can sometimes get in the way.”   Linus Mundy


Drawing – Are You Over It?

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It is only natural to get tired and fatigued when you are drawing, after all, intense observation is hard work!

You could be getting tired of it if you notice:

  • A sudden awareness of time.
  • An awareness of distractions.
  • A tendency to draw from what you know rather than from observation.

If this happens, stop drawing! (at least for the time being anyway.)

The best way to get past this stage is to develop the technique of “focusing”.  This is done by capturing the most interesting part of the subject.  This plan is best selected ahead of time so you can concentrate on those areas before fatigue sets in.

Developing these chosen areas at the expense of others allows you to conserve your energy and time.  Then you can focus on drawing the good stuff that you like.

I focused on the eyes in the drawing above and left the rest a scribble.  Below Egon Schiele takes the topic further by focusing entirely on the hands and face.

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Will you plan your focus before starting your next drawing?  I don’t know what you think, but to me, there is something really appealing about an unfinished drawing.

Drawing – The Secret of Trapped Shapes

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If you make a circle with your thumb and forefinger you will find a “trapped” shape.  A “trapped” shape or space is usually found between limbs and background, between overlapping branches of a tree or even between the rungs of a chair. The whites of your eyes are “trapped” shapes as is the space within the handle of a teapot.  In the sketch above you will see the three “trapped” shapes between the boys’ legs.

If you focus on these shapes, you will see them as just a shape and easier to draw than something you already know.  When you draw the shape, you draw the common boundary between the leg and the foot…. to draw one is to draw the other.

Drawing shapes is much easier than drawing things, so drawing “trapped” shapes whenever you find them will give new life to your drawing.  “Trapped” shapes serve as a marker and proportional check to the shape beside it.  It helps to develop the habit of shifting back and forth between drawing objects and trapped shapes. This will lead you to new ways of observing.

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I have drawn the larger shapes first, then focused on the trapped shapes between the boys’ legs.

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By drawing the dark shape of the dress, you also draw a part of the model’s face.

Can you search for the trapped shapes? Can you shift back and forth between them and other objects?  Are you interested in finding new ways of observing?  Treat this as a challenge for your next drawing.


Next time you’re out, try to look for “trapped shapes” – they are everywhere.  I was driving the freeway yesterday and could see a “trapped shape” between the body of the car in front, its wheels, and the road.  I saw another between an overhead bridge, the pillars supporting it and the road.  It is fun to see in new ways.

Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists


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“You may agree that trying to control life is a kind of roller coaster of frustration.  Change always appears wearing a badge saying “I am Inevitable!”  Brenda Shoshanna

You’ve Got to be Joking!



My quote today is from the controversial Bagwan Rajneesh..

“Whenever you see seriousness,

Know well something is wrong – 

Because seriousness is part of a diseased being.

No flower is serious unless it is ill.

No bird is serious unless it is ill.

An awakened man realizes life is a song.”

It could be said our lives are built upon the idea of limitation and struggle.  Could it be that out sense of limitation comes from seeing ourselves as separate and struggling to survive in what seems a hostile world?

Peak moments arise when this separate sense of self vanishes.  These primal experiences can be experienced during prayer, love making, meditation, music, art or whenever separation from life dissolves.  In this state the person returns home to their source or God if you like.

Meditation can happen while gardening, cycling, running, doing housework and in all those repetitive things we do.

All the more reason to make music, make art, write, photograph, meditate and make love!