Courage – Daily Therapy

My Identity

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” Unknown

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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!

Pathways Outside the Square

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Are you an open-minded person who likes to look at things laterally?  If so, this could just be the exercise to make a difference to your drawing.

Above is my “outside the box” drawing of an iron using the exercise below.

But first, lets consider some pertinent points…Could it be there are different ways to draw geometric shapes?  Could a circle start at one point and complete the full circle or even stop halfway and return to the beginning before going in the opposite direction?

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Possibly a square may likewise be drawn as four lines or two triangles.

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Pointless information?  Indeed yes, until you put it into context. You will be surprised to see just how quickly your proportions and accuracy improve by practicing this different pathways exercise.

Can you see the effective use of different pathways in the pictures below?

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Exercise – Allow yourself 30 minutes of drawing indulgence..

Try drawing a camera, iron, hammer or other complicated object.  It is best the object have both curved and straight lines.  Look for shapes on the object and try to draw them in different ways than you would do normally. Check out as many opportunities to retreat to a former position as possible.

When you search for alternative paths, you’ll often have to trace back to a point where you have travelled before.

Performing the step of going back to an earlier point helps teach you proportion and relationships without interrupting your line.  There is no stopping and measuring, the flow of your line is preserved.

Try to leave your pencil on the paper at all times.  This means you will be drawing the retreating lines as well as the deliberate lines.  Drawing more heavily on the outlines and faintly on the lines that cut back helps to produce an authentic drawing.

This is fun to do as a “blind” or “non-blind” drawing and ends up much more accurate than stopping and measuring.

You won’t realize it while you do this exercise, but travelling back to a previous point is the most natural way to learn about angles, proportions and relationships.  It has helped my drawing more than any other exercise so far.

Good Luck!

Drawing – Draw Your Own Eyes

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In our last drawing post, we established that your memory is inadequate compared to your visual experience.

A good way to break old seeing habits is by assuming nothing about your subject, looking at it with absolute curiosity. Logic does not come into it.  You need to move past a language of “things” to a language of “line and shape.”

In the following exercise, you will draw your own eyes as they are reflected in a mirror.

To prepare yourself visually and to draw a sensitive and accurate pair of unique eyes, the following question will help you to see with the eyes of an artist:

  • Are the two eyes exactly alike or are there small differences? If so, what are those differences?
  • Could you say your eyes are one eye width apart?
  • How much of the open eye does the iris cover? One third, one half?
  • What is the shape of the upper lid?  Is it a semi-circle or an asymmetrical shape?
  • The highest part of the eyebrow appears where in relationship to the eye?
  • Can you see any prominent character lines or folds around the eye?
  • Can you see some dark shadows and some light areas?
  • If you turn your head to three-quarter view, can you see how the eye shapes are now different.?
  • In this three-quarter view, is one eye higher than the other on the page?  Is one eyebrow higher than the other?
  •  Is there any of the eye obscured from view by the bridge of the nose?
  • If you wear glasses, the size and shape of the lenses will appear different in the three-quarter view.  Do you notice how the near lens is larger and more open in shape?
  • KEY TIP! Look at the whites of the eyes.  What shape are they? By drawing this shape, rather than the shape of the iris you will usually end up with a convincing set of eyes.

When you draw from observation these and many other questions are often automatically answered.

Exercise in Drawing Your Own Eyes – allow 20 minutes for this exercise.

With your head turned to three-quarter view, (half-way between front and profile.) Draw as accurately as possible only the areas of the eyes, eyebrows, and the bridge of your nose. Remember to always draw what you see rather than what you know.

Using a 2B pencil with a sharp point, work mostly in line with some added shading to show the lights and darks.  Try drawing “blind” at least three or four times and include at least two restatements.

Here is a drawing I did for this exercise.  I kept the drawing loose and spontaneous and was pleased with the result.

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Please send in your drawings for appraisal to, I would love to see them!

Drawing – Mental Images

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It is easy for us to imagine how an apple, a horse or the face of a good friend looks and sometimes we think this is an exact duplication of how these things actually do look.

Not so, because if we try to draw these mental images, we suddenly realise we don’t have enough information to put down the shape, proportion, contour or texture to make a drawing with any character at all.

Below is my “memory” drawing of how I think a lemon looks in my mind.

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The following drawing is of two lemons using observation, drawing “blind” and including some restatements as detailed below.

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The difference between these two examples is quite dramatic and proves that mental images are really only symbols of reality.  The mind could not possible store all the information necessary to draw a convincing lemon.  That is the job of the eyes, leaving the hand to readily follow.


Make a pair of drawings of a fruit or vegetable.  Allow yourself at least 30 minutes for the drawings.

The first drawing should be from the mental image in your head without the object being present.

The second drawing should be done from observing the actual fruit or vegetable in front of you.  To make an accurate drawing, use line and some shading, try to draw “blind” at least some of the time and include at least three restatements.  See previous posts for a more complete explanation of “restatements” and “drawing blind”.

When you have finished your drawings, check out the difference between your mental image drawing and your drawing from observation. This reinforces the notion of Seeing vs. Knowing as per my previous post.

Courage -Daily Therapy for Artists

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Expectation precludes the opportunity for discovery.  When we try to reach a goal, we become fixated on it and miss the process.”   John Daido Loori