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Along the Way - Apprehension to Connection

color daily sketching drawing life as an artist miscellaneous Jul 16, 2020

July 16, 2020

Along the Way - The Transformation of Apprehension to Connection

Through hazy eyes, not quite awake from a night of slumber, I gaze at the drawing on the screen of my iPad. Only three closed shapes remain empty.

Even in my still-sleepy state I felt automatic responses quickly building a wall of hesitation brick by brick in an attempt to keep my creative energy at bay.

By observing the wall being built,  and clarifying what those bricks consist of, I hold the key to making it crumble after it's run out of bricks to stack against my progress. When I resist or push up against the wall, it becomes impenetrable.  

The experience of finding brick walls being built between my arm and my canvas (or paper) occurs on a regular basis.  It's not something that vanished once I learned how to draw, learned how to mix colors, how to create strong design, composition or mastered a technique. It's something that I've learned to embrace, appreciate and welcome.  In an odd sort of way, those bricks, when they tumble, lay a path through uncharted territory that leads me to new discoveries, new techniques and new approaches to my work.  Not to share this truth with my students would make me a less effective teacher. To give the impression that once one becomes a professional artist these brick walls won't cause self-doubt and overly harsh self-judgement would be not only deceptive, it would be keeping silent about a common experience among artists, one that can be transformed from paralyzing to enlightening.

What I find amusing is that I watch the very same bricks being stacked at several different stages of a sketch, drawing or painting. 

The following is a list of the BRICKS I watched being stacked this morning and a few fragmented thoughts.  I'm not going to explain the thoughts or how I interpret them.  Some may resonate for you and others may not. Remember ... these triggers fire off very quickly giving little time to contemplate responses.  Their malicious intent is to create the defensive action of RETREAT rather than picking up the paint brush and seeing what might happen. 

1.  Oh no ... blank shapes (blank canvas) Which one do I use this morning? What mark should I make? What object should I draw in that shape?

2. What if I choose the wrong closed shape to work in this morning? 

3. Oh dear ... I like what's going on now ... it's starting to come together ... what if I screw it up this morning by choosing the wrong shape to work in?

4. I'm sad that I only have three shapes left to go ... I'm really starting to enjoy this piece. I don't want it to end. Like the sketchbook that is so intimidating when it's new, now that I've spent a couple of days with it, I've grown attached to the scribble.  By the time I have only a few pages left in a sketchbook or when I'm nearing the end of working on a painting, I become hesitant, not wanting to complete the sketchbook or painting. It feels like I'll be saying goodbye to a dear friend.  A bond has been formed.  The sketchbook tells the story of where I've been, how I saw the world around me on specific days.  My Recipe Morning Scribble feels the same way.  I look forward to adding to it each morning.  I don't want all the shapes to be filled.

5. I've drawn myself into a corner and I'm not going to come up with a good solution. 

6. After this morning I have only two small spaces left. I should just leave them blank. If I leave them blank for awhile, maybe I'll figure out something great to do with them ... I'll wait and come back to this sketch another day. I'll just start a new scribble this morning.

7. Why did I think this was a good idea?  

8. I could really ruin it if I pick the wrong color to draw with this morning.

As the seconds ticked by, and I wasn't showing a strong indication of RETREAT, the construction of the wall lost momentum.  Maybe the sip of coffee had awakened my inner artist who had a totally different view of the situation. The wall crumbled as the artist awoke and began to share her thoughts.

1. I can't wait to see what happens this morning.

2. Whichever shape I pick to work in, I'll figure out something good to do with it.

3. If I make a mess of it, I'll figure out a way to fix it ... maybe by adding values to the shapes and reconstructing the design with values.

4. I think I'll try this in a Dala, changing the with each ingredient.

5. What a great opportunity to include more text in designs

6. Okay, let's just pick a color and get going!

I picked up the pencil and began to draw.  The choice is always mine ...


My choice is to pick up the pencil, pen or brush and begin making marks.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.




Why the crane in this morning's sketch describing Ume Plum Vinegar?  The crane is pictured on the label of the bottle produced by Eden Foods, yet the crane is not part of the Eden Foods logo.  I did find that the company that produces Ume Plum wine is the HAKUTSURU BREWERY.

Hakutsuru is located in the famed Nada district of Kobe, a leading saké production area. The name Hakutsuru means “white crane”. The crane’s reserved character and graceful appearance along with the cultural association of seeing a crane in flight as an auspicious sign, makes the crane an ideal symbol to represent the excellent quality of Hakutsuru’s saké

 I can only assume that the vinegar is made from the saké produced by this brewery.

I chose to draw a portion of the crane for two reasons.  The first being that I thought it would work well as a shape within that shape to support the movement and design of the image as a whole.  The second being that I have a strong spirit connection with cranes.


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